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Astrophysical Probes of Dark Matter

Hurst, Travis J (2016) Astrophysical Probes of Dark Matter. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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In the ΛCDM model, ≈ 26% of the matter-energy content of the Universe is in the form of an unidentified Cold Dark Matter. Observations indicate that the Dark Matter is a new exotic particle not accounted for in the Standard Model of particle physics. Identifying the Dark Matter particle is one of the most pressing problems in cosmology and particle physics. In this thesis we investigate several possible astrophysical signatures of Dark Matter: Dark Matter annihilations in cold White Dwarfs provide a source of luminosity that could halt their cooling. This effect can be used to constrain the Dark Matter density local to the White Dwarf. In the case of the coldest White Dwarf in a Globular Cluster, a constraint on the maximum Dark Matter content is derived. Globular Clusters do not appear to have Dark Matter halos today, but could have possessed them in the past. We investigate whether Globular Clusters could have lost their halos through multi-body gravitational interactions— we find that this scenario is unlikely. Finally, we explore the effects of Asymmetric Dark Matter on stellar evolution. Asymmetric Dark Matter can alter the transport of energy in the cores of stars. We show that this has potentially observable effects on low mass Main Sequence and post-Main Sequence stars. Our main conclusion is that astrophysical observations can potentially rule out some Dark Matter models. On the other hand, if the properties of the Dark Matter particle become known, then its astrophysical effects must be taken into account when evaluating observations.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Hurst, Travis Jtjh47@pitt.eduTJH47
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairZentner,
Committee MemberKosowsky,
Committee MemberFreitas,
Committee MemberBadenes,
Committee MemberTrac,
Date: 30 September 2016
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 7 July 2016
Approval Date: 30 September 2016
Submission Date: 28 July 2016
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 131
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Physics
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Dark Matter
Date Deposited: 30 Sep 2016 14:47
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:35


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