Studying dark matter using weak gravitational lensing : from galaxies to the cosmic web
Of all the mass in our Universe, 80% is thought to consist of a hypothetical and invisible substance called dark matter (DM).
- Brouwer, M.M.
- 20 December 2017
- Thesis in Leiden Repository
Of all the mass in our Universe, 80% is thought to consist of a hypothetical and invisible substance called dark matter (DM). So far, all observations of DM are based on its gravitational interaction, either through the dynamics of normal (baryonic) matter or through the deflection of light. The latter approach, called ‘gravitational lensing’, is a unique way to probe the distribution of DM without making any assumptions on its dynamical state, and on scales larger than the extent of baryons. Using weak gravitational lensing with the Kilo-Degree Survey (KiDS), we first study the relation between galaxies and their dark matter halos on the scale of individual galaxies and galaxy groups. We then attempt to measure the effect of the local and large scale (cosmic web) density distribution on galaxies and halos, and we measure the interplay between galactic and DM structures at the scale of the cosmic web. Finally, we perform the first test of Verlinde’s theory of Emergent Gravity, all with the ultimate goal of gleaning some insight into the possible nature of the elusive ‘missing mass’.