Friday, November 24, 2017

A New Modified Gravity Theory To Explain Dark Matter and Dark Energy

The hypothesis of the scale invariance of the macroscopic empty space, which intervenes through the cosmological constant, has led to new cosmological models. They show an accelerated cosmic expansion after the initial stages and satisfy several major cosmological tests. No unknown particles are needed. 
Developing the weak-field approximation, we find that the here-derived equation of motion corresponding to Newton's equation also contains a small outward acceleration term. Its order of magnitude is about Newton's gravity ( being the mean density of the system and the usual critical density). 
The new term is thus particularly significant for very low density systems. A modified virial theorem is derived and applied to clusters of galaxies. For the Coma Cluster and Abell 2029, the dynamical masses are about a factor of 5–10 smaller than in the standard case. This tends to leave no room for dark matter in these clusters.
Then, the two-body problem is studied and an equation corresponding to the Binet equation is obtained. It implies some secular variations of the orbital parameters. The results are applied to the rotation curve of the outer layers of the Milky Way. Starting backward from the present rotation curve, we calculate the past evolution of the Galactic rotation and find that, in the early stages, it was steep and Keplerian. Thus, the flat rotation curves of galaxies appear as an age effect, a result consistent with recent observations of distant galaxies by Genzel et al. and Lang et al. 
Finally, in an appendix we also study the long-standing problem of the increase with age of the vertical velocity dispersion in the Galaxy. The observed increase appears to result from the new small acceleration term in the equation of the harmonic oscillator describing stellar motions around the Galactic plane. 
Thus, we tend to conclude that neither dark energy nor dark matter seems to be needed in the proposed theoretical context.
Andrew Maeder "Dynamical Effects of the Scale Invariance of the Empty Space: The Fall of Dark Matter?" 849(2) The Astrophysical Journal 158 (November 10, 2017).

Friday, November 17, 2017

Yet Another Dark Matter Parameter Space Constraint

Simple cold dark matter models still don't work, although theorists don't have good alternatives:

A detection of wobbling Brightest Cluster Galaxies within massive galaxy clusters

A striking signal of dark matter beyond the standard model is the existence of cores in the centre of galaxy clusters. Recent simulations predict that a Brightest Cluster Galaxy (BCG) inside a cored galaxy cluster will exhibit residual wobbling due to previous major mergers, long after the relaxation of the overall cluster. This phenomenon is absent with standard cold dark matter where a cuspy density profile keeps a BCG tightly bound at the centre. We test this hypothesis using cosmological simulations and deep observations of 10 galaxy clusters acting as strong gravitational lenses. Modelling the BCG wobble as a simple harmonic oscillator, we measure the wobble amplitude, Aw, in the BAHAMAS suite of cosmological hydrodynamical simulations, finding an upper limit for the CDM paradigm of Aw<2kpc at the 95% confidence limit. We carry out the same test on the data finding a non-zero amplitude of Aw=11.82+7.33.0kpc, with the observations dis-favouring Aw=0 at the 3σ confidence level. This detection of BCG wobbling is evidence for a dark matter core at the heart of galaxy clusters. It also shows that strong lensing models of clusters cannot assume that the BCG is exactly coincident with the large scale halo. While our small sample of galaxy clusters already indicates a non-zero Aw, with larger surveys, e.g. Euclid, we will be able to not only to confirm the effect but also to use it to determine whether or not the wobbling finds its origin in new fundamental physics or astrophysical process.
I explained this in the following way to someone asking about this paper at the Physics Forums:

The really core point, from the abstract is that:
[The] Brightest Cluster Galaxy (BCG) inside a cored galaxy cluster will exhibit residual wobbling due to previous major mergers, long after the relaxation of the overall cluster. This phenomenon is absent with standard cold dark matter where a cuspy density profile keeps a BCG tightly bound at the centre. . . . This detection of BCG wobbling is evidence for a dark matter core at the heart of galaxy clusters.
Ten years ago, this would have been a really big deal since it contradicts the cold dark matter (CDM) hypothesis as an explanation for dark matter phenomena. But, at this point, it is really just piling onto an abundant collection of evidence showing contradictions between the CDM hypothesis and observation.

One of these contradictions (there are several of them) is known as the cusp-core problem, which is that CDM theories, generically, predict that dark matter halos should have a cuspy density profile, but inferences about the distribution of dark matter from the dynamics of visible matter in galaxies and gravitational lensing observations demonstrate that this is not actually the shape of inferred dark matter distributions in galaxies. Instead, inferred dark matter halos distributions have what is known as an "isothermal" distribution of dark matter within the dark matter halo around a galaxy.

So, this result really just confirms in a novel way something that was widely known from other evidence. This is still important, because it makes the conclusion that there really is a cusp-core problem that is not just an artifact of a flaw in some particular methodology that provides the evidence for the cusp-core problem much more robust. But, it doesn't really change the bottom line from existing data.

To prevent a cuspy density profile from emerging in a halo you need some kind of feedback either between dark matter particles or between ordinary matter and dark matter that spreads it out when it gets too dense.

But, that contradicts the assumption made in early cold dark matter theories that dark matter should be collisionless, which has strong support from the failure to direct dark matter detection experiments to see it, from the absence of a strong dark matter annihilation signal, and from the non-detection of dark matter at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), and is consistent with the success of the lamdaCDM model of cosmology at scales much larger than galaxies and galaxy clusters, although these methods would often miss detect interactions between dark matter and other dark matter that does not result in annihilation of the interacting dark matter particles and take place at relative small distances relative to those important for cosmology.

Warm dark matter proponents have suggested a quantum effect that only kicks in at masses of dark matter particles on the order of 2 keV/c2 or less. Others have proposed self-interacting dark matter (SIDM) models to address the issue. But, those models have their own problems beyond the scope of this discussion.