Higgs in Space!

By Sean Carroll | December 1, 2009 6:55 pm

Winner of the coveted “Best Paper Title Among Today’s arXiv Postings.”

Higgs in Space!
C.B. Jackson, Geraldine Servant, Gabe Shaughnessy, Tim M.P. Tait, Marco Taoso

Abstract: We consider the possibility that the Higgs can be produced in dark matter annihilations, appearing as a line in the spectrum of gamma rays at an energy determined by the masses of the WIMP and the Higgs itself. We argue that this phenomenon occurs generally in models in which the the dark sector has large couplings to the most massive states of the SM and provide a simple example inspired by the Randall-Sundrum vision of dark matter, whose 4d dual corresponds to electroweak symmetry-breaking by strong dynamics which respect global symmetries that guarantee a stable WIMP. The dark matter is a Dirac fermion that couples to a Z’ acting as a portal to the Standard Model through its strong coupling to top quarks. Annihilation into light standard model degrees of freedom is suppressed and generates a feeble continuum spectrum of gamma rays. Loops of top quarks mediate annihilation into gamma Z, gamma h, and gamma Z’, providing a forest of lines in the spectrum. Such models can be probed by the Fermi/GLAST satellite and ground-based Air Cherenkov telescopes.

And for those who don’t immediately get the joke, we dip once more into the limitless supply of Muppets videos on YouTube.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: arxiv, Higgs, Science
  • Aaron Bergman

    And here I thought it was referring to this.

  • Tim Tait

    Hi Sean,

    Thanks for the “award”!

    In a recent talk at Davis ( http://hep.ps.uci.edu/~tait/talks/Davis-WIMP%20Forest.pdf page 37 or so) Max Chertok anticipated the Muppet connection about 5 slides before I got to it… I had underestimated how strong the association is, I guess…

  • http://www.theastronomist.com Alexander Fry

    They state that this is the “perfect mass range for searches with the Fermi LAT”. Testable predictions are good, but their final statement is dreamy, “As we explore the weak scale, we expect the dynamics of the electroweak breaking to be revealed. It may be that its secrets already shine down from the sky, produced by dark matter annihilation.”

    And of course there is Bowie in Space.

  • http://eternal-cartesian.blogspot.com/ Cartesian

    I did try arxiv but I am not from a university, so it is not possible for me to publish there.

  • http://eternal-cartesian.blogspot.com/ Cartesian

    And about the boson show?

  • Aaron Sheldon

    How do you re-heat the dark matter to keep it from collapsing, if there is any process by which dark matter can loose energy?

    • http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/sean/ Sean

      Aaron, generally it’s a matter of numbers; the dark matter can lose energy, but not nearly fast enough to affect its dynamics in a galaxy or cluster.

  • Aaron Sheldon

    Can you put some specific limits on what is “not nearly fast enough” from the stability of galaxies and clusters, and then work out how much excess radiation we should expect to see?

  • Tim Tait


    This is not exactly what you are asking, but there was a recent paper which put limits on the elastic scattering cross section of WIMPs such that they do not exchange so much energy that elliptical galaxies collapse into spherical structures:
    That seems to be closer to your original question than the worry that WIMPs will annihilate into light particles, which will escape and the galaxies will ‘evaporate’, which is what would happen if annihilation rates were large.

    The above paper claims to put bounds which are on the order of 0.1 GeV^-2 on the elastic cross section. This is more than a million times larger than a typical WIMP annihilation cross section
    (as inferred, say, by the relic density).

  • Aaron Sheldon

    Thanks Tim,

    The paper is definitely closer to the line of logic I was considering.

  • Robert Frost

    WIMPS observed in nature =0
    WIMPS observed in “papers” = 1,323,183,220,140,264*

    A commanding lead!

    *(seems to roughly obey Benford’s law)


Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

Cosmic Variance

Random samplings from a universe of ideas.

About Sean Carroll

Sean Carroll is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology. His research interests include theoretical aspects of cosmology, field theory, and gravitation. His most recent book is The Particle at the End of the Universe, about the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs boson. Here are some of his favorite blog posts, home page, and email: carroll [at] cosmicvariance.com .


See More

Collapse bottom bar