A Testable Conspiracy: Simulating Baryonic Effects on Self-interacting Dark Matter Halos
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A Testable Conspiracy: Simulating Baryonic Effects on Self-interacting Dark Matter Halos

  • Author(s): Elbert, Oliver D
  • Bullock, James S
  • Kaplinghat, Manoj
  • Garrison-Kimmel, Shea
  • Graus, Andrew S
  • Rocha, Miguel
  • et al.
Abstract

We investigate the response of self-interacting dark matter (SIDM) halos to the growth of galaxy potentials using idealized simulations, each run in tandem with standard collisionless Cold Dark Matter (CDM). We find a greater diversity in the SIDM halo profiles compared to the CDM halo profiles. If the stellar gravitational potential strongly dominates in the central parts of a galaxy, then SIDM halos can be as dense as CDM halos on observable scales. For extreme cases with highly compact disks core collapse can occur, leading to SIDM halos that are denser and cuspier than their CDM counterparts. If the stellar potential is not dominant, then SIDM halos retain constant density cores with densities far below CDM predictions. When a disk potential is present, the inner SIDM halo becomes \em{more flattened} in the disk plane than the CDM halo. These results are in excellent quantitative agreement with the predictions of Kaplinghat et al. (2014). We also simulated a galaxy cluster halo with a central stellar distribution similar to the brightest central galaxy of the cluster A2667. A SIDM halo simulated with cross section over mass $\sigma/m = 0.1\ \mathrm{cm^2 g^{-1}}$ provides a good match to the measured dark matter density profile of A2667, while an adiabatically-contracted CDM halo is denser and cuspier. The cored profile of the same halo simulated with $\sigma/m = 0.5\ \mathrm{cm^2 g^{-1}}$ is not dense enough to match A2667. Our findings are in agreement with previous results that $\sigma/m \gtrsim 0.1\ \mathrm{cm^2 g^{-1}}$ is disfavored for dark matter collision velocities in excess of about 1500 km/s. More generally, the predictive cross-talk between baryonic potentials and SIDM density distributions offers new directions for constraining SIDM cross sections in massive galaxies where baryons are dynamically important.

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