Dynamical Tests of Dark Matter in the Milky Way and Local Group

Prof. Robyn Sanderson (University of Pennsylvania)
Tuesday, April 13, 2021 - 11:00am

The results of the Gaia astrometric mission have ushered in a new era of "precision Galactic dynamics". Using this new phase-space map of Galactic stars with unprecedented volume and accuracy, we are beginning to obtain new insights into the dark matter distribution in our Galaxy as well as its formation history. Thanks to significant advances on the computational front, meanwhile, we can now compare these insights directly with, and test our modeling strategies on, simulations of Milky-Way-mass galaxies where the influence of baryons and the cosmological context on the dark matter structure are realistically taken into account. I will demonstrate how this convergence of new data and better models improves our understanding of the Milky Way's dark matter distribution, leading to better constraints on the nature of dark matter.

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