The Milky Way as a laboratory for dark matter and galaxy formation

Dr. Chervin Laporte (University of Barcelona)
Tuesday, August 2, 2022 - 11:00am

In the standard cosmological LCDM model, dark matter provides the primordial potential wells in which baryons can get captured. In this model, galaxy formation operates in a hierarchical fashion through the condensation of gas into stars at the center of dark matter halos and mergers for which the dark matter provides the necessary background for dynamical friction to operate. Our position in the Milky Way offers us a unique chance to probe the distribution of matter (baryonic and dark) through 6D phase-space information locked in every star in the Galaxy with large surveys (astrometric, photometric & spectroscopic) but also its formation history through access to complementary information encrypted in its stellar populations (chemistry, age). Together this information may be used to infer, date and probe various stages of galaxy formation and assembly of the Milky Way, but also study the properties of progenitor galaxies which were disrupted and that now make up the stellar halo. This makes the Milky Way a unique laboratory to study high-z galaxies in our own cosmic backyard. The Gaia satellite has opened new doors to probe non-equilibrium dynamics operating on small and large scales and the formation history of our Galaxy and its constituents ushering a new era for near-field cosmology and astrophysical tests for the nature of the dark matter. In this talk, I will discuss some of the recent works of our group on the structure, formation and evolution of the Galactic disc, the stellar halo and dark matter in the Milky Way.

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