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Does transparent hidden matter generate optical scintillation?

Abstract : Stars twinkle because their light goes through the atmosphere. The same phenomenon is expected when the light of extra-galactic stars goes through a Galactic (disk or halo) refractive medium. Because of the large distances involved here, the length and time scales of the optical intensity fluctuations resulting from the wave distortions are accessible to the current technology. In this paper, we discuss the different possible scintillation regimes and we focus on the so-called strong diffractive regime that is likely to produce large intensity contrasts. The critical relationship between the source angular size and the intensity contrast in optical wavelengths is also discussed in detail. We propose to monitor small extra-galactic stars every ~10 s (or less) to search for intensity scintillation produced by molecular hydrogen clouds. We discuss means to discriminate such hidden matter signal from the foreground effects on light propagation. Appropriate observation of the scintillation process described here should allow one to detect column density stochastic variations in Galactic molecular clouds of order of ~0.3 g/m^2 or 10^{19} molecules/cm^2 per ~10,000 km transverse distance.
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Submitted on : Monday, January 15, 2007 - 1:17:24 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, October 14, 2020 - 3:47:26 AM

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M. Moniez. Does transparent hidden matter generate optical scintillation?. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2003, 412, pp.105-120. ⟨10.1051/0004-6361:20031478⟩. ⟨in2p3-00013713⟩

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