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Centro de Astrofísica da Universidade do Porto

Constraining spatial variations of the fine structure constant using clusters of galaxies and Planck data

I de Martino, C. J. A. P. Martins, H. Ebeling, D. Kocevski

We propose an improved methodology to constrain spatial variations of the fine structure constant using clusters of galaxies. We use the {it Planck} 2013 data to measure the thermal Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect at the location of 618 X-ray selected clusters. We then use a Monte Carlo Markov Chain algorithm to obtain the temperature of the Cosmic Microwave Background at the location of each galaxy cluster. When fitting three different phenomenological parameterizations allowing for monopole and dipole amplitudes in the value of the fine structure constant we improve the results of earlier analysis involving clusters and the CMB power spectrum, and we also found that the best-fit direction of a hypothetical dipole is compatible with the direction of other known anomalies. Although the constraining power of our current datasets do not allow us to test the indications of a fine-structure constant dipole obtained though high-resolution optical/UV spectroscopy, our results do highlight that clusters of galaxies will be a very powerful tool to probe fundamental physics at low redshift.

Physical Review D
Volume 94
October 2016

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Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences

Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences (IA) is a new but long anticipated research infrastructure with a national dimension. It embodies a bold but feasible vision for the development of Astronomy, Astrophysics and Space Sciences in Portugal, taking full advantage and fully realizing the potential created by the national membership of the European Space Agency (ESA) and the European Southern Observatory (ESO). IA resulted from the merging the two most prominent research units in the field in Portugal: the Centre for Astrophysics of the University of Porto (CAUP) and the Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics of the University of Lisbon (CAAUL). It currently hosts more than two-thirds of all active researchers working in Space Sciences in Portugal, and is responsible for an even greater fraction of the national productivity in international ISI journals in the area of Space Sciences. This is the scientific area with the highest relative impact factor (1.65 times above the international average) and the field with the highest average number of citations per article for Portugal.

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