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Technical comment on the paper of Dessert et al. "The dark matter interpretation of the 3.5 keV line is inconsistent with blank-sky observations"

by Alexey Boyarsky, Denys Malyshev, Oleg Ruchayskiy, Denys Savchenko

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Submission summary

Authors (as registered SciPost users): Denys Savchenko
Submission information
Preprint Link:  (pdf)
Date accepted: 2021-04-28
Date submitted: 2021-02-25 08:53
Submitted by: Savchenko, Denys
Submitted to: SciPost Astronomy Core
Ontological classification
Academic field: Astronomy
  • High-Energy Physics - Phenomenology
  • Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics
  • High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena


An unidentified line at energy around 3.5 keV was detected in the spectra of dark matter-dominated objects. Recent work of Dessert et al. [1812.06976] used 30 Msec of XMM-Newton blank-sky observations to constrain the admissible line flux, challenging its dark matter decay origin. We demonstrate that these bounds are overestimated by more than an order of magnitude due to improper background modeling. Therefore the dark matter interpretation of the 3.5 keV signal remains viable.

Author comments upon resubmission

Dear Editor

We are submitting the revised version of the Technical comment with changes suggested by the Referee.
These changes aimed at visual clarification for the readers of the points in the article.
It took more time than expected for a minor revision due to COVID-related disruptions.

The Authors

List of changes

1. Fig. 2 added, which shows the actual spectra together with models under consideration.
2. Additional paragraph referencing Fig. 2 added.
3. Typesetting changed to match SciPost style.

Published as SciPost Astro. Core 1, 001 (2021)

Reports on this Submission

Report 1 by Dominique Eckert on 2021-4-12 (Invited Report)


Dear colleagues,
Thanks for addressing my previous points, I think the new figure showing the actual spectrum is very nice and it convincingly makes the case for including the various lines. I am happy to recommend acceptance of the paper.

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