Decaying dark matter and the deficit of dwarf haloes

Majd Abdelqader, Fulvio Melia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The hierarchical clustering inherent in Λcold dark matter cosmology seems to produce many of the observed characteristics of large-scale structure. But some glaring problems still remain, including the overprediction (by a factor of 10) of the number of dwarf galaxies within the virialized population of the local group. Several secondary effects have already been proposed to resolve this problem. It is still not clear, however, whether the principal solution rests with astrophysical processes, such as early feedback from supernovae, or possibly with as yet undetermined properties of the dark matter itself. In this paper, we carry out a detailed calculation of the dwarf halo evolution incorporating the effects of a hypothesized dark matter decay, D → D′ + l, where D is the unstable particle, D′ is the more massive daughter particle and l is the other, lighter (or possibly massless) daughter particle. This process preferentially heats the smaller haloes, expanding them during their evolution and reducing their present-day circular velocity. We find that this mechanism can account very well for the factor of 4 deficit in the observed number of systems with velocity 10-20 km s-1 compared to those predicted by the numerical simulations, if Δm/m D, ∼5-7 × 10-5, where Δm is the mass difference between the initial and final states. The corresponding lifetime τ cannot be longer than ∼30 Gyr, but may be as short as just a few Gyr.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1869-1878
Number of pages10
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Cosmic microwave background
  • Cosmology: theory
  • Dark matter
  • Elementary particles
  • Galaxies: formation
  • Large-scale structure of Universe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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