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Unlocking Dark Matter Physics out of Galactic Substructures
September 10, 20152:00 pm – 3:00 pm (CDT)

Unlocking Dark Matter Physics out of Galactic Substructures


Francis-Yan Cyr-Racine (Caltech)



Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics & Astronomy

College Station, Texas 77843

Event Details

Despite being ubiquitous throughout the Universe, the fundamental physics governing dark matter remains a mystery. While this physics plays little role in the current evolution of large-scale cosmic structures, it did have a major impact in the early epochs of the Universe on the evolution of cosmological density fluctuations on small causal length scales. Studying the astrophysical structures that resulted from the gravitational collapse of fluctuations on these small scales can thus yield important clues about the physics of dark matter. Today, most of these structures are locked in deep inside the potential wells of galaxies, making the study of their properties difficult. Fortunately, due to fortuitous alignments between high-redshift bright sources and us, some of these galaxies act as spectacular strong gravitational lenses, allowing us to probe their inner structure. In this talk, we present a unified framework to extract information about the power spectrum of mass substructures inside lens galaxies. We determine which properties of mass substructures are most readily constrained by lensing data and forecast the constraining power of current and future observations. These constraints have the potential to address whether dark matter is “warm”, and to put bounds on the temperature of its kinematic decoupling.

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