Journal Article

Consequences of dark matter self-annihilation for galaxy formation

Priyamvada Natarajan, Darren Croton and Gianfranco Bertone

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 388, issue 4, pages 1652-1666
Published in print August 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online August 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Consequences of dark matter self-annihilation for galaxy formation

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Galaxy formation requires a process that continually heats gas and quenches star formation in order to reproduce the observed shape of the luminosity function of bright galaxies. To accomplish this, current models invoke heating from supernovae, and energy injection from active galactic nuclei. However, observations of radio-loud active galactic nuclei suggest that their feedback are likely not to be as efficient as required, signaling the need for additional heating processes. We propose the self-annihilation of weakly interacting massive particles that constitute dark matter as a steady source of heating. In this paper, we explore the circumstances under which this process may provide the required energy input. To do so, dark matter annihilations are incorporated into a galaxy formation model within the Millennium cosmological simulation. Energy input from self-annihilation can compensate for all the required gas cooling and reproduce the observed galaxy luminosity function only for what appear to be extreme values of the relevant key parameters. The key parameters are: the slope of the inner density profile of dark matter haloes and the outer spike radius. The inner density profile needs to be steepened to slopes of −1.5 or more and the outer spike radius needs to extend to a few tens of parsecs on galaxy scales and a kpc or so on cluster scales. If neutralinos or any thermal relic Weakly Interacting Massive Particle with s-wave annihilation constitute dark matter, their self-annihilation is inevitable and could provide enough power to modulate galaxy formation. Energy from self-annihilating neutralinos could be yet another piece of the feedback puzzle along with supernovae and active galactic nuclei.

Keywords: accretion, accretion discs; stars: evolution; dark matter; early Universe

Journal Article.  12288 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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