Volume 575, March 2015
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Section||Galactic structure, stellar clusters and populations|
|Published online||04 March 2015|
A new look at microlensing limits on dark matter in the Galactic halo
Institute for Astronomy (IfA), University of Edinburgh, Royal Observatory, Blackford Hill Edinburgh EH9 3HJ UK
Received: 25 November 2014
Accepted: 28 January 2015
Context. The motivation for this paper is to review the limits set on the MACHO content of the Galactic halo by microlensing experiments in the direction of the Large Magellanic Cloud. This has been prompted by recent measurements of the Galactic rotation curve, which suggest that the limits have been biassed by the assumption of an over-massive halo.
Aims. The paper first discusses the security of the detection efficiency calculations which are central to deriving the MACHO content of the Galactic halo. It then sets out to compare the rotation curves from various halo models with recent observations, with a view to establishing what limits can be put on an all-MACHO halo.
Methods. The main thrust of the paper is to investigate whether lighter halo models which are consistent with microlensing by an all-MACHO halo are also consistent with recent measures of the Galactic rotation curve. In this case the population of bodies discovered by the MACHO collaboration would make up the entire dark matter content of the Galactic halo.
Results. The main result of this paper is that it is easy to find low mass halo models consistent with the observed Galactic rotation curve, which also imply an optical depth to microlensing similar to that found by the MACHO collaboration. This means that all-MACHO halos cannot be ruled out on the basis of their observations.
Conclusions. Limits placed on the MACHO content of the Galactic halo from microlensing surveys in the Magellanic Clouds are inconsistent and model dependent, and do not provide a secure basis for rejecting an all-MACHO halo.
Key words: dark matter / gravitational lensing: micro / Galaxy: halo
© ESO, 2015
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