Astrophysicists simulate a mysterious galactic halo of dark matter

Astrophysicists simulate a mysterious galactic halo of dark matter

Density slices are magnified into a mysterious dark matter halo. The plot on the right shows the reconstructed mysterious dark matter wave function with a self-consistent interference pattern and a central solitonic nucleus using the newly introduced Gaussian ray method in the highly refined inner region of the corona. Credit: Schwabe & Niemeyer.

Dark matter is a type of matter in the universe that does not absorb, reflect, or emit light, making it impossible to detect directly. In recent years, astrophysicists and cosmologists around the world have attempted to indirectly reveal this elusive type of matter, to better understand its unique features and composition.

One of the most promising candidates for dark matter is “fuzzy dark matter,” a hypothetical form of dark matter that is believed to consist of very light scaling particles. This type of material is known to be difficult to simulate due to its unique properties.

Researchers at the University of Zaragoza in Spain and the Institute of Astrophysics in Germany recently proposed a new method that could be used to simulate the hazy dark matter that forms a galactic halo. This method was presented in a paper published in Physical Review Lettersbased on an algorithm adaptation presented by the team in their previous work.

“The numerical challenge for studies focusing on hazy dark matter is that its characteristic features, grain density fluctuations in halos and collapsing filaments, are orders of magnitude smaller than any cosmic simulation box large enough to accurately capture the dynamics of the cosmic web,” said Bodo Schwab, one of the researchers who They conducted the study, Phys.org website. “Thus, people have tried for years to combine efficient numerical methods that capture large-scale dynamics with algorithms that are computationally demanding but can precisely develop these density fluctuations.”

As part of their latest study, Schwabe and colleague Jens C. Niemeyer adapted and improved an algorithm they presented in their previous work. So far, the method they have developed is the only one that can be used successfully to perform cosmic simulations of hazy dark matter.

Using the adapted algorithm, the researchers were able to simulate the collapse of the universe’s web into filaments and halos. This was achieved using the so-called “n-body method”, which divides the “initial density field” into small particles that freely evolve under the influence of the force of gravity.

“The n-body method is a very stable, well-tested and efficient method, but it does not capture the density fluctuations of an overlapping dark matter field in strings Schwab explained. “In a small sub-volume of our simulation box that tracks the center of a pre-defined halo, we switched to a different algorithm, known as the finite difference method, which directly develops the fuzzy dark matter wave function and thus can capture its interference patterns resulting in grain density fluctuations. distinctive”.

While n-body methods and finite difference methods are widely used by Astrophysics All over the world for cosmic simulations, they have rarely been used in tandem. To perform their simulations, Schwabe and Niemeyer combined these two methods, relying on the moderation between them on the sub-volume surface.

More specifically, the method they used promotes n-body particles into coherent wave packets known as “Gaussian beams”. The superposition of these elements gave rise to a mysterious dark matter wave function at their intersection, which eventually allowed their simulations to be run.

“The successful combination of finite-difference methods and the n-body paves the way for realistic simulations of cosmic mysterious dark matter,” Schwab added. “This simulation can include the collision of two or more blurs dark matter Halos, the evolution of star clusters within a halo, or their interaction with the central solitonic core whose random course can lead to heating or even disruption of the star cluster. ”


This is what the ‘fuzzy’ universe might look like


more information:
Bodo Schwab et al., Deep magnification simulation of a galactic halo of mysterious dark matter, Physical Review Letters (2022). DOI: 10.1103/ PhysRevLett.128.181301

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