King's College London

Research portal

Velocity substructure from Gaia and direct searches for dark matter: Dark Shards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Christopher McCabe, Ciaran O'Hare, Wyn Evans, GyuChul Myeong, Vasily Belokurov

Original languageEnglish
Article number023006
JournalPhysical Review D - Particles, Fields, Gravitation and Cosmology
Issue number2
Published13 Jan 2020


King's Authors


Data from the Gaia satellite show that the solar neighborhood of the Milky Way's stellar halo is imprinted with substructure from several accretion events. Evidence of these events is found in "the shards," stars clustering with high significance in both action space and metallicity. Stars in the shards share a common origin, likely as ancient satellite galaxies of the Milky Way, so will be embedded in dark matter (DM) counterparts. These "dark shards" contain two substantial streams (S1 and S2), as well as several retrograde, prograde and lower energy substructures. The retrograde stream S1 has a very high Earth-frame speed of ∼550 km s-1 while S2 moves on a prograde, but highly polar orbit and enhances the peak of the speed distribution at around 300 km s-1. The presence of the dark shards locally leads to modifications of many to the fundamental properties of experimental DM signals. The S2 stream in particular gives rise to an array of effects in searches for axions and in the time dependence of nuclear recoils: Shifting the peak day, inducing nonsinusoidal distortions, and increasing the importance of the gravitational focusing of DM by the Sun. Dark shards additionally bring new features for directional signals, while also enhancing the DM flux toward Cygnus.

Download statistics

No data available

View graph of relations

© 2020 King's College London | Strand | London WC2R 2LS | England | United Kingdom | Tel +44 (0)20 7836 5454