A wealth of astronomical data indicate the presence of mass discrepancies in the Universe. The motions observed in a variety of classes of extragalactic systems exceed what can be explained by the mass visible in stars and gas. Either (i) there is a vast amount of unseen mass in some novel form – dark matter – or (ii) the data indicate a breakdown of our understanding of dynamics on the relevant scales, or (iii) both. Here, we first review a few outstanding challenges for the dark matter interpretation of mass discrepancies in galaxies, purely based on observations and independently of any alternative theoretical framework. We then show that many of these puzzling observations are predicted by one single relation – Milgrom’s law – involving an acceleration constant a_0 (or a characteristic surface density Σ_† = a_0∕G) on the order of the square-root of the cosmological constant in natural units. This relation can at present most easily be interpreted as the effect of a single universal force law resulting from a modification of Newtonian dynamics (MOND) on galactic scales. We exhaustively review the current observational successes and problems of this alternative paradigm at all astrophysical scales, and summarize the various theoretical attempts (TeVeS, GEA, BIMOND, and others) made to effectively embed this modification of Newtonian dynamics within a relativistic theory of gravity.
Posts Tagged ‘Dark matter’
Galaxy redshift surveys have achieved significant progress over the last couple of decades. Those surveys tell us in the most straightforward way what our local Universe looks like. While the galaxy distribution traces the bright side of the Universe, detailed quantitative analyses of the data have even revealed the dark side of the Universe dominated by non-baryonic dark matter as well as more mysterious dark energy (or Einstein’s cosmological constant). We describe several methodologies of using galaxy redshift surveys as cosmological probes, and then summarize the recent results from the existing surveys. Finally we present our views on the future of redshift surveys in the era of precision cosmology.
There is now an enormously rich variety of experimental techniques being brought to bear on experimental searches for dark matter, covering a wide range of suggested forms for it. The existence of “dark matter”, in some form or other, is inferred from a number of relatively simple observations and the problem has been known for over half a century. To explain “dark matter” is one of the foremost challenges today — the answer will be of fundamental importance to cosmologists, astrophysicists, particle physicists, and general relativists. In this article, I will give a brief review of the observational evidence (concentrating on areas of current significant activity), followed by an equally brief summary of candidate solutions for the ‘dark matter’. I will then discuss experimental searches, both direct and indirect. Finally, I will offer prospects for the future.