The star-forming galaxy contribution to the cosmic MeV and GeV gamma-ray background.
LACKI B.C., HORIUCHI S. and BEACOM J.F.
Abstract (from CDS):
Star-forming galaxies could be major contributors to the cosmic GeV γ-ray background, and they are expected to be MeV-dim because of the "pion bump" falling off below ∼100 MeV. However, there are very few observations of galaxies in the MeV range and other emission processes could be present. We investigate the MeV background from star-forming galaxies by running one-zone models of cosmic ray populations, including inverse Compton and bremsstrahlung, as well as nuclear lines (including 26Al), emission from core-collapse supernovae, and positron annihilation emission, in addition to the pionic emission. We use the Milky Way and M82 as templates of normal and starburst galaxies and compare our models to radio and GeV-TeV γ-ray data. We find that (1) higher gas densities in high-z normal galaxies lead to a strong pion bump, (2) starbursts may have significant MeV emission if their magnetic field strengths are low, and (3) cascades can contribute to the MeV emission of starbursts if they emit mainly hadronic γ-rays. Our fiducial model predicts that most of the unresolved GeV background is from star-forming galaxies, but this prediction is uncertain by an order of magnitude. About ∼2% of the claimed 1 MeV background is diffuse emission from star-forming galaxies; we place a firm upper limit of ≲ 10% based on the spectral shape of the background. The star formation contribution is constrained to be small because its spectrum is peaked, while the observed background is steeply falling with energy through the MeV-GeV range.