Dark Sectors of the Milky Way: Revealing the Hidden Galaxy

Arjun Dey, Radcliffe Fellow 2013–2014
Douglas Finkbeiner
, Harvard University
Joan Najita, Radcliffe Fellow 2021–2022

The nature of dark matter remains one of the outstanding mysteries in modern science. Dark matter constitutes the bulk of gravitating mass in the universe and we infer its existence from the motion of stars and galaxies. Nevertheless, it has remained undetected and invisible despite decades of searches using particle accelerators and ground and space borne instruments. Our best hope of understanding this component of the universe is through astronomical observations.

We propose a Radcliffe exploratory seminar aimed at defining a bold, new and comprehensive project aimed at understanding the nature and distribution of dark matter in the Milky Way galaxy and its role in shaping the formation and subsequent evolution of our galaxy. We will assemble a diverse group of scientists to identify the key observables and craft a strategy that uses international astronomical, computational and intellectual assets in a coordinated way to study the influence of dark matter in our galaxy. A project of this scale would also create the most comprehensive cartographic map of the Milky Way.