Dark Matter Signals or New High-Energy Astrophysics: How Can We Tell?
This event is part of the Physics Department Colloquia Series.
Dark matter is believed to comprise five-sixths of the matter in the universe, and is one of the strongest pieces of evidence for new fundamental physics. But dark matter does not interact directly with light, making it very difficult to detect except by its gravity. I will describe how dark matter collisions might create observable signals, and how we attempt to tease out those signals from telescope observations. In the last few years, such attempts have unveiled fascinating new structures in high-energy gamma rays: understanding these observations may either reveal the new physics of dark matter, or probe the deep history of our Milky Way Galaxy. I will present evidence for a surprising new population of as-yet-undetected gamma-ray point sources - possibly pulsars - in the heart of the Milky Way.