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The Dark Disk of the Milky Way

By Chris W. Purcell, James S. Bullock and Manoj Kaplinghat


Massive satellite accretions onto early galactic disks can lead to the deposition of dark matter in disk-like configurations that co-rotate with the galaxy. This phenomenon has potentially dramatic consequences for dark matter detection experiments. We utilize focused, high-resolution simulations of accretion events onto disks designed to be Galaxy analogues, and compare the resultant disks to the morphological and kinematic properties of the Milky Way's thick disk in order to bracket the range of co-rotating accreted dark matter. We find that the Milky Way's merger history must have been unusually quiescent compared to median LCDM expectations and therefore its dark disk must be relatively small: the fraction of accreted dark disk material near the Sun is about 20% of the host halo density or smaller and the co-rotating dark matter fraction near the Sun, defined as particles moving with a rotational velocity lag less than 50 km/s, is enhanced by about 30% or less compared to a standard halo model. Such a dark disk could contribute dominantly to the low energy (of order keV for a dark matter particle with mass 100 GeV) nuclear recoil event rate of direct dectection experiments, but it will not change the likelihood of detection significantly. These dark disks provide testable predictions of weakly-interacting massive particle dark matter models and should be considered in detailed comparisons to experimental data. Our findings suggest that the dark disk of the Milky Way may provide a detectable signal for indirect detection experiments, contributing up to about 25% of the dark matter self-annihilation signal in the direction of the center of the Galaxy, lending the signal a noticeably oblate morphology.Comment: 11 pages, 6 figures, 1 table; submitted to Ap

Topics: Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies, Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics
Publisher: 'IOP Publishing'
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1088/0004-637X/703/2/2275
OAI identifier:

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