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  1. Abstract

    Dark sector theories naturally lead to multicomponent scenarios for dark matter where a subcomponent can dissipate energy through self-interactions, allowing it to efficiently cool inside galaxies. We present the first cosmological hydrodynamical simulations of Milky Way analogs where the majority of dark matter is collisionless cold dark matter (CDM) but a subcomponent (6%) is strongly dissipative minimal atomic dark matter (ADM). The simulations, implemented inGIZMOand utilizing FIRE-2 galaxy formation physics to model the standard baryonic sector, demonstrate that the addition of even a small fraction of dissipative dark matter can significantly impact galactic evolution despite being consistent with current cosmological constraints. We show that ADM gas with roughly standard model–like masses and couplings can cool to form a rotating “dark disk” with angular momentum closely aligned with the visible stellar disk. The morphology of the disk depends sensitively on the parameters of the ADM model, which affect the cooling rates in the dark sector. The majority of the ADM gas gravitationally collapses into dark “clumps” (regions of black hole or mirror star formation), which form a prominent bulge and a rotating thick disk in the central galaxy. These clumps form early and quickly sink to the inner ∼kiloparsec of the galaxy, affecting the galaxy’s star formation history and present-day baryonic and CDM distributions.

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  2. Abstract

    Nyx is a nearby, prograde, and high-eccentricity stellar stream physically contained in the thick disk, but its origin is unknown. Nyx could be the remnant of a disrupted dwarf galaxy, in which case the associated dark matter substructure could affect terrestrial dark matter direct-detection experiments. Alternatively, Nyx could be a signature of the Milky Way’s disk formation and evolution. To determine the origin of Nyx, we obtained high-resolution spectroscopy of 34 Nyx stars using Keck/HIRES and Magellan/MIKE. A differential chemical abundance analysis shows that most Nyx stars reside in a metal-rich ([Fe/H] > −1) high-αcomponent that is chemically indistinguishable from the thick disk. This rules out the originally suggested scenario that Nyx is the remnant of a single massive dwarf galaxy merger. However, we also identify 5 substantially more metal-poor stars ([Fe/H] ∼ −2.0) whose chemical abundances are similar to those of the metal-weak thick disk. It remains unclear how stars that are chemically identical to the thick disk can be on such prograde, high-eccentricity orbits. We suggest two most likely scenarios: that Nyx is the result of an early minor dwarf galaxy merger, or that it is a record of the early spin-up of the Milky Way disk—although neither perfectly reproduces the chemodynamic observations. The most likely formation scenarios suggest that future spectroscopic surveys should find Nyx-like structures outside of the solar neighborhood.

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    Machine learning can play a powerful role in inferring missing line-of-sight velocities from astrometry in surveys such as Gaia. In this paper, we apply a neural network to Gaia Early Data Release 3 (EDR3) and obtain line-of-sight velocities and associated uncertainties for ∼92 million stars. The network, which takes as input a star’s parallax, angular coordinates, and proper motions, is trained and validated on ∼6.4 million stars in Gaia with complete phase-space information. The network’s uncertainty on its velocity prediction is a key aspect of its design; by properly convolving these uncertainties with the inferred velocities, we obtain accurate stellar kinematic distributions. As a first science application, we use the new network-completed catalogue to identify candidate stars that belong to the Milky Way’s most recent major merger, Gaia-Sausage-Enceladus (GSE). We present the kinematic, energy, angular momentum, and spatial distributions of the ∼450 000 GSE candidates in this sample, and also study the chemical abundances of those with cross matches to GALAH and APOGEE. The network’s predictive power will only continue to improve with future Gaia data releases as the training set of stars with complete phase-space information grows. This work provides a first demonstration of how to use machine learning to exploit high-dimensional correlations on data to infer line-of-sight velocities, and offers a template for how to train, validate, and apply such a neural network when complete observational data is not available.

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  4. ABSTRACT We combine the isothermal Jeans model and the model of adiabatic halo contraction into a semi-analytic procedure for computing the density profile of self-interacting dark-matter (SIDM) haloes with the gravitational influence from the inhabitant galaxies. The model agrees well with cosmological SIDM simulations over the entire core-forming stage up to the onset of gravothermal core-collapse. Using this model, we show that the halo response to baryons is more diverse in SIDM than in CDM and depends sensitively on galaxy size, a desirable feature in the context of the structural diversity of bright dwarfs. The fast speed of the method facilitates analyses that would be challenging for numerical simulations – notably, we quantify the SIDM halo response as functions of the baryonic properties, on a fine mesh grid spanned by the baryon-to-total-mass ratio, Mb/Mvir, and galaxy compactness, r1/2/Rvir; we show with high statistical precision that for typical Milky-Way-like systems, the SIDM profiles are similar to their CDM counterparts; and we delineate the regime of core-collapse in the Mb/Mvir − r1/2/Rvir space, for a given cross section and concentration. Finally, we compare the isothermal Jeans model with the more sophisticated gravothermal fluid model, and show that the former yields faster core formation and agrees better with cosmological simulations. We attribute the difference to whether the target CDM halo is used as a boundary condition or as the initial condition for the gravothermal evolution, and thus comment on possible improvements of the fluid model. We have made our model publicly available at 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 23, 2024

    The Milky Way’s stellar disc can tilt in response to torques that result from infalling satellite galaxies and their associated tidal debris. In this work, we explore the dynamics of disc tilting by running N-body simulations of mergers in an isolated, isotropic Milky Way-like host galaxy, varying over satellite virial mass, initial position, and orbit. We develop and validate a first-principles understanding of the dynamics that govern how the host galaxy’s stellar disc responds to the satellite’s dark matter (DM) debris. We find that the degree of disc tilting can be large for cosmologically motivated merger histories. In particular, our results suggest that the Galactic disc may still be tilting in response to Gaia-Sausage-Enceladus, one of the most significant recent mergers in the Milky Way’s history. These findings have implications for terrestrial direct detection experiments as disc tilting changes the relative location of the Sun with respect to DM substructure left behind by a merging galaxy.

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