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Nico Garavito Camargo

Testing Dark Matter by Looking for the Large Magellanic Cloud's Effect on the Milky Way

A recent research paper by grad student Nicolas Garavito-Camargo, professor Gurtina Besla, and collaborators has been picked up by AAS Nova. In it, they explore the effects of the gravitational interaction between the Large Magellanic Cloud and the Milky Way.

The following is a brief summary of the research:

The interaction between the Milky Way and the Large Magellanic Cloud provides a unique opportunity to test for the existence of dark matter. As a recently accreted, massive dwarf galaxy, the Large Magellanic Cloud induced a dark matter wake in the stellar and dark matter particles of the Milky Way halo. This article presents a suite of 8 high-resolution N-body simulations of the interaction between the Milky Way and the Large Magellanic Cloud to analyze the properties of the wake. These simulations show that the dark matter wake has a particular 6D (3 physical coordinates, radial velocity, and 2 proper motions)  kinematic signature that could be observable with current and next-generation surveys. The detection on the wake would confirm the existence of dark matter and potentially constrain the identity of the dark matter particle itself.