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Stellar streams as probes of dark matter : search and dynamical analysis

Abstract : Tidal stellar streams are pristine star structures that play central role in addressing long standing mysteries of the Galactic archaeology. Since streams are orbital in nature, they inherently possess the characteristics of unravelling the underlying mass distribution of the galaxy, and can be used to probe the shape of the dark matter halo. Besides testing the ‘hierarchical merging’ scenario of galaxy formation, stream gaps can also provide indirect evidence for the existence of dark matter sub-halos (thereby, in principle, constraining the nature of the dark matter particle itself). Due to all these reasons, the dynamical analysis of stellar streams of the Milky Way Galaxy naturally becomes one of the interesting problems. However, the foremost challenge is to detect these structures. During the thesis, STREAMFINDER algorithm (a state of the art algorithm) was designed to systematically process the Gaia dataset (ESA’s novel astrophysical catalogue containing unprecedented astrometric solutions of over 1.6 billion stars) for the detection of the stellar streams of the Milky Way. This hefty endeavour led to the detection of 10 high confidence stream structures, of which 5 were reported as new discoveries.This harvest of structures also facilitated, for the first time, creation of a panoramic structural and kinematic map of the stellar streams of the Milky Way halo, taking our community a step further in unravelling the complex formation history of our Galaxy. This project was instantly followed by the orbital analysis of one of the detected streams (namely GD-1) to explore the improvements in the gravitational potential models of our Galaxy. The constraints on the Milky Way’s mass and that on the shape of its dark matter halo, that were obtained by simply employing this single stream, revealed the potential power the analysis of an ensemble of streams would hold in in probing the overall galactic mass distribtuion of our Galaxy. Thereby, the thesis paved way for new discoveries of the stellar substructures, also highlighting the future prospects in this field.
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Submitted on : Friday, August 30, 2019 - 3:30:07 PM
Last modification on : Saturday, August 31, 2019 - 1:17:05 AM


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  • HAL Id : tel-02275204, version 1



Khyati Malhan. Stellar streams as probes of dark matter : search and dynamical analysis. Astrophysics [astro-ph]. Université de Strasbourg, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018STRAE027⟩. ⟨tel-02275204⟩



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