Testing for Dark Matter in the Outskirts of Globular Clusters

December 2021 • 2021ApJ...922..104C

Authors • Carlberg, Raymond G. • Grillmair, Carl J.

Abstract • The proper motions of stars in the outskirts of globular clusters are used to estimate cluster velocity dispersion profiles as far as possible within their tidal radii. We use individual color-magnitude diagrams to select high-probability cluster stars for 25 metal-poor globular clusters within 20 kpc of the Sun, 19 of which have substantial numbers of stars at large radii. Of the 19, 11 clusters have a falling velocity dispersion in the 3-6 half-mass radii range, 6 are flat, and 2 plausibly have a rising velocity dispersion. The profiles are all in the range expected from simulated clusters that started at high redshift in a zoom-in cosmological simulation. The 11 clusters with falling velocity dispersion profiles are consistent with no dark matter above the Galactic background. The six clusters with approximately flat velocity dispersion profiles could have local dark matter, but are ambiguous. The two clusters with rising velocity dispersion profiles are consistent with a remnant local dark matter halo, but need membership confirmation and detailed orbital modeling to further test these preliminary results.


IPAC Authors


Carl Grillmair

Associate Scientist