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Monday, February 11, 2019
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
CNLS Conference Room (TA-3, Bldg 1690)


Locating dark matter using ripples and tidal streams in the Milky Way

Heidi Newberg
Rensselaer Polytechnic University

All-sky surveys are providing a wealth of data on the positions and velocities of stars in the Milky Way, while direct and indirect searches for dark matter have yet to produce a convincing dark matter signal. Because the dark matter's gravity affects the motion of Milky Way stars, we can in principle use the motions of stars in our galaxy to map the density structure of the dark matter. The shape and lumpiness of the dark matter distribution in the Milky Way is very poorly known and could provide clues to the interaction of dark matter particles with themselves and with baryonic matter. We employ MilkyWay@home, a petaFLOPS-scale volunteer computing resource, to map streams of stars that have been ripped from dwarf galaxies by the Milky Way's tidal forces. MilkyWay@home also simulates the formation of tidal streams to constrain the dark matter density distribution.

Host: Amy Lovell