Constraining the cosmological density of compact objects with the long-term variability of quasars
Astronomiska observatoriet, Box 515, 75120 Uppsala, Sweden
Corresponding author: E. Zackrisson, Erik.Zackrisson@astro.uu.se
Accepted: 21 November 2002
By comparing the results from numerical microlensing simulations to the observed long-term variability of quasars, strong upper limits on the cosmological density of compact objects in the – range may in principle be imposed. Here, this method is generalized from the Einstein-de Sitter universe to the currently favored , cosmology and applied to the latest observational samples. We show that the use of high-redshift quasars from variability-selected samples has the potential to substantially improve current constraints on compact objects in this mass range. We also investigate to what extent the upper limits on such hypothetical dark matter populations are affected by assumptions concerning the size of the optical continuum-emitting region of quasars and the velocity dispersion of compact objects. We find that mainly due to uncertainties in the typical value of the source size, cosmologically significant populations of compact objects cannot safely be ruled out with this method at the present time.
Key words: cosmology: dark matter / gravitational lensing / quasars: general / cosmology: miscellaneous
© ESO, 2003