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Understanding Dark Matter in Relation to Dwarf Satellite Galaxies

Semester: Summer 2023


Presentation description

Dark matter has been theorized to exist for over 80 years based on astronomical observations but has yet to be found in terrestrial experiments. Named for its lack of interaction with the electromagnetic field, dark matter doesn't absorb, reflect, or emit electromagnetic radiation making it undetectable to us. Because of this, it is considered one of the greatest current mysteries in astronomy. However, visible galaxies are believed to live inside dark matter halos, which are hypothetical regions of dark matter that have disassociated themselves from the cosmological constant and contain matter bound together through gravity. These visible galaxies that I study are called dwarf satellite galaxies which are smaller galaxies, holding fewer stars and mass. These dwarf galaxies are sometimes close enough to another galaxy to be pulled into the gravity of the larger "host" galaxy which then makes them a satellite in the host's system. Since we cannot detect dark matter yet, I use these dwarf satellite galaxies and their distribution within their individual host systems as a reference to help indicate what is occurring within the structure of dark matter halos. Observational data taken so far focuses on host galaxy systems out to a radius of 300 kpc from the host galaxy. I am using a cosmological simulation called The Very Small MultiDark Planck Simulation (VSMDPL) to extend this radius out to 500 kpc to see if there is a correlation between the inner (0-300kpc) and outer (300-500kpc) radii of these host systems. My project also indicates evidence of the recently discovered splashback radius, a distance from a host galaxy where dwarf satellite galaxies with certain velocities can escape their orbits. My analysis will help predict the next stage of observational data that will be conducted in the future.

Presenter Name: Emily Sageser

Presentation Type: Poster
Presentation Format: In Person
Presentation #106
College: Science
School / Department: Physics & Astronomy
Research Mentor: Yao-Yuan Mao
Date | Time: Thursday, Aug 3rd | 9:00 AM