Particle Astrophysics Seminar: Detecting Dark Matter Substructures Using Cold Stellar Streams

  • Dec. 17, 2018, 2:00 pm
  • Curia II

Speaker: Nilanjan Banik, Leiden University/GRAPPA University of Amsterdam
Abstract: A key prediction of the ΛCDM framework of structure formation is that a host halo containing a Milky Way sized disk galaxy should contain hundreds of thousands of sub-dwarf galaxy mass dark matter subhalos. Devoid of stars, these substructures remain undetected. Detecting them will give us crucial information on the particle nature of dark matter and how they cluster at small scale. Cold stellar streams originate when globular clusters are tidally disrupted in the Milky Way potential. Gravitational encounters with dark matter subhalos will perturb these streams’ density. I will present a novel method of probing the fundamental nature of dark matter by statistically analyzing the power spectrum of the stream density. I will discuss the uncertainties that the known baryonic structures such as the Galactic bar, the spiral arms, the Galactic population of giant molecular clouds and globular clusters can impart. Understanding their effects will be crucial for deciding whether a particular stream can be used to probe dark matter substructures.