Rejection of the Hypothesis That Markarian 501 T[CLC]e[/CLC]V Photons Are Pure Bose-Einstein Condensates
The energy spectrum of the Blazar type galaxy Markarian 501 (Mrk 501) as measured by the High-Energy-Gamma-Ray Astronomy (HEGRA) air Cerenkov telescopes extends beyond 16 TeV and constitutes the most energetic photons observed from an extragalactic object. A fraction of the emitted spectrum is possibly absorbed in interactions with low energy photons of the diffuse extragalactic infrared radiation, which in turn offers the unique possibility to measure the diffuse infrared radiation density by
... diation density by TeV spectroscopy. The upper limit on the density of the extragalactic infrared radiation derived from the TeV observations imposes constraints on models of galaxy formation and stellar evolution. One of the recently published ideas to overcome severe absorption of TeV photons is based upon the assumption that sources like Mrk 501 could produce Bose-Einstein condensates of coherent photons. The condensates would have a higher survival probability during the transport in the diffuse radiation field and could mimic TeV air shower events. The powerful stereoscopic technique of the HEGRA air Cerenkov telescopes allows to test this hypothesis by reconstructing the penetration depths of TeV air shower events: Air showers initiated by Bose-Einstein condensates are expected to reach the maximum of the shower development in the atmosphere earlier than single photon events. By comparing the energy-dependent penetration depths of TeV photons from Mrk 501 with those from the TeV standard-candle Crab Nebula and simulated air shower events, we can reject the hypothesis that TeV photons from Mrk 501 are pure Bose-Einstein condensates.