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Constraining the Cosmic Star Formation Rate with the MeV Background
Nuclear Physics A
  • K Watanabe, NASA/GSFC
  • D H Hartmann, Clemson University
  • Mark D Leising, Clemson University
  • L. S. The, Clemson University
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The Cosmic Gamma-ray Background (CGB) in the MeV regime has been measured with COMPTEL and SMM. The origin of the CGB in this energy regime is believed to be dominated by gamma-rays from Type Ia supernovae. We calculate the CGB spectrum within the framework of FRW cosmology as a function of the cosmic star formation rate, SFR(z). Several estimates of the SFR(z) have been reported since the pioneering work of Madau et al. Here we discuss observational constraints on SFR(z) derived from models of the CGB. In particular, we consider the SFR obtained from Gamma-Ray Burst observations, which increases dramatically with redshift beyond z ~ 1 in contrast to most estimates which saturate or show a mild increase with redshift. Gamma-ray bursts may be the most powerful tracers of star formation in the early universe and thus provide signposts of the initial epoch of element synthesis. The star formation rate implied by GRB statistics results in a gamma-ray background that matches the observations more closely than that inferred from other tracers of star formation. This may provide some support for the GRB/SFR-paradigm, which in turn promises a powerful diagnostic of star formation, and thus cosmic chemical evolution, from the era of Population III stars to the present.

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