University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Calendar

Friday, March 1st 2019
12:30 pm:
Speaker: Ken Van Tilburg (IAS/New York U.)
Subject: Halometry from Astrometry

Halometry---mapping out the spectrum, location, and kinematics of nonluminous structures inside the Galactic halo---can be realized via effects that variable weak gravitational lensing induces on the proper motions of stars and other luminous background sources. Modern astrometric surveys provide unprecedented positional precision along with a leap in the number of cataloged objects. Astrometry thus offers a new and sensitive probe of collapsed dark matter structures over a wide mass range, from one millionth to several million solar masses. It opens up a window into the spectrum of primordial density fluctuations with very small comoving wavenumbers, scales hitherto poorly constrained.
I will outline several detection strategies for dark matter substructure based on time-domain weak gravitational lensing, after summarizing existing techniques and constraints. I will present preliminary results from ongoing analyses based on Gaia's second data release. Finally, I will show that minimal models of axion-like dark matter naturally produce dense small-scale structures which can probed by the aforementioned astrometric lensing techniques.

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