Hunting for Dark Matter in the Gamma-Ray Sky
The annihilation of dark matter can lead to observable signatures in high-energy gamma rays across the Milky Way sky. I will present a new analysis technique that takes advantage of non-Poissonian photon statistics to characterize populations of unresolved point sources. This analysis method has allowed us to better distinguish potential dark matter signals from astrophysical backgrounds. We have applied these methods to two targets of interest. The first is the center of our own Galaxy, where an observed gamma-ray excess had been interpreted as a signal of dark matter. This interpretation is now disfavored, as our study finds evidence for a new population of astrophysical sources, such as millisecond pulsars. The second target is the nearly isotropic all-sky emission from sources outside the Milky Way. While first detected in the 1970s, the origin of this isotropic emission is still an open question. I will discuss how we are trying to piece out the potential dark matter contribution to this isotropic emission, and how our findings have additional implications for the interpretation of IceCube’s ultra-high-energy neutrinos.