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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/W005646/1
Title: Dark Matter dynamics in the Milky Way and Large Magellanic Cloud
Principal Investigator: Petersen, Dr M
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Physics and Astronomy
Organisation: University of Edinburgh
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship
Starts: 01 October 2021 Ends: 30 September 2025 Value (£): 436,513
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Direct Dark Matter Detection
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
27 Jul 2021 Stephen Hawking Fellowship - R2 Interviews Announced
26 Jul 2021 Stephen Hawking Fellowship - R2 Interviews- Panel 1 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Recent discoveries have broken the spell that our Galaxy is a relatively static object without much going on. In particular, observations of the Large Magellanic Cloud -- the closest massive satellite galaxy to the Milky Way -- indicate that it is falling in with a massive dark matter halo, which is in turn actively warping and deforming the dark matter halo of the Milky Way. This disequilibrium is not well described with the current generation of models for the Milky Way, hampering astronomers' study of dark matter. I have developed a mathematical framework and methodology for describing the reaction of the Milky Way to the infall of the Large Magellanic Cloud, finding in numerical models that the primary effect is an offset of the Milky Way disc from the centre of the dark matter halo: a so-called `dipole mode'. Our understanding of dipole modes and the physical effects on the dark matter halo are currently in their infancy, and will require concerted effort to develop a model which can fully explain the observational data. In my project, I will develop such a model framework which can be used to test different hypotheses for the interaction of the Milky Way and the Large Magellanic Cloud. From the study, I will learn about the current status of the dark matter halos of the Milky Way and Large Magellanic Cloud, as well as their histories, including the shape of the halos before the onset of the interaction. I will then extend the descriptions of the dipole modes, using the Milky Way and Large Magellanic Cloud as a prototypical example, to more generally describe the phenomena of dipole-driven evolution, including on small scales in the Milky Way disc, as well as in external galaxies. The result will be a homogeneous description for a fundamental evolutionary mode in dark matter halos, with real observational predictions in both the Milky Way and external galaxies.
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