Workshop Overview

Shedding Light on the Nature of Dark Matter

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July 13-24, 2009
California Institute of Technology
Pasadena, CA 91125

Nearly one quarter of the mass and energy budget of the Universe is in the form of "dark matter," whose existence is made clear by its gravitational imprint on galaxies, galaxy clusters, and even on the cosmic microwave background. Dark matter is likely comprised of one or more particles that are speculated on, but are not yet known. There are many particle candidates for dark matter drawn from several distinct theoretical ideas.

Each of these candidates may be detected by different experimental setups, some direct and some indirect, based on the nature and properties of the particle. There have recently been some tantalizing observations that may be related to such detections.

Furthermore, each of these candidates may lead to different observable consequences on a dizzying range of astronomical scales. Some of these include measurements of small-scale dark matter structure in the Milky Way and beyond, and the dynamics of colliding galaxy clusters.

This leads to the goals of this mini-program, to bring together diverse theoretical and observational perspectives on dark matter particle candidates and their properties, their astrophysical expressions, and the observations today and in the future that may solve the problem of the nature of dark matter.

For questions contact: Michele Judd


This Hubble Space Telescope composite image shows a ghostly "ring" of dark matter in the galaxy cluster Cl 0024+17.


Credit: NASA, ESA, M.J. Jee and H. Ford (Johns Hopkins University)