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Astrophysics Luncheon Seminar

Probing Dark Matter with Strong Gravitational Lenses
Presented by Simon Birrer
University of California, Los Angeles

Monday, March 25, 2019
12:00 noon in 169-336

Strong gravitational lensing offers an unique view on the small scale clustering of matter at cosmological distances at a regime where different dark matter scenarios can have diverting predictions based on the particle nature (self-interacting, thermal relic, etc). Recently, strong lensing has become competitive with other probes, such as the local group and Lyman-alpha forest, in quantifying the smallest cosmological scales.

I will provide an introduction into strong gravitational lensing and an overview on different techniques used to probe the small scale structure with lensing. I present our recent result based on a forward modeling approach with Approximate Bayesian Computing to directly infer physical properties of dark matter from strong gravitational lensing data. We are able, based on the HST data of one single strong lens, to rule out a warm dark matter thermal relic mass below 2 keV at the 2-sigma confidence level. This result, in combination with the success of other techniques, applied on multiple strong lenses, offers interesting constraints on the nature of dark matter in the near-term future at scales of 10^7 solar mass halos.

JPL Contact: Leonidas Moustakas (3-5095)

SVCP Astrophysics

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