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Rewriting the Thermal History of the Universe: The Cosmological Implications of TeV Blazars



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PIRSA Number: 
11100082

Abstract

A recently discovered class of active galactic nuclei, TeV luminous blazars, constitute a small fraction of the power output of black holes. Nevertheless, there are suggestions that unlike the UV and X-ray luminosity of quasars, the very-high energy gamma-ray emission from the TeV blazars can be thermalized on cosmological scales with order unity efficiency, resulting in a potentially dramatic heating of the low-density intergalactic medium. The way in which this occurs, however, imparts a variety of peculiar properties to this novel heating source, resulting in a number of robust cosmological consequences. I will discuss the process by which TeV blazars heat the Universe, the strange properties that this heating has, and the variety of signatures that it has left behind, many of which have already been observed!