Dwarf galaxies in CDM and SIDM with baryons: Observational probes of the nature of dark matter

Mark Vogelsberger*, Jesus Zavala, Christine Simpson, Adrian Jenkins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Citations (Scopus)


We present the first cosmological simulations of dwarf galaxies, which include dark matter self-interactions and baryons. We study two dwarf galaxies within cold dark matter, and four different elastic self-interacting scenarioswith constant and velocity-dependent cross-sections, motivated by a new force in the hidden dark matter sector. Our highest resolution simulation has a baryonic mass resolution of 1.8 × 102M⊙ and a gravitational softening length of 34 pc at z = 0. In this first study we focus on the regime of mostly isolated dwarf galaxies with halo masses ~1010M⊙ where dark matter dynamically dominates even at sub-kpc scales. We find that while the global properties of galaxies of this scale are minimally affected by allowed selfinteractions, their internal structures change significantly if the cross-section is large enough within the inner sub-kpc region. In these dark-matter-dominated systems, self-scattering ties the shape of the stellar distribution to that of the dark matter distribution. In particular, we find that the stellar core radius is closely related to the dark matter core radius generated by self-interactions. Dark matter collisions lead to dwarf galaxies with larger stellar cores and smaller stellar central densities compared to the cold dark matter case. The central metallicity within 1 kpc is also larger by up to ~15 per cent in the former case.We conclude that the mass distribution and characteristics of the central stars in dwarf galaxies can potentially be used to probe the self-interacting nature of dark matter.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3684-3698
Number of pages15
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 The Authors.

Other keywords

  • Dark matter
  • Galaxies: haloes
  • Methods: numerical


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