Dark matter halo

Cosmology Dark Matter
Dark matter halo

Theoretical cosmological structure

According to modern models of physical cosmology, a dark matter halo is a basic unit of cosmological structure. It is a hypothetical region that has decoupled from cosmic expansion and contains gravitationally bound matter. A single dark matter halo may contain multiple virialized clumps of dark matter bound together by gravity, known as subhalos. Modern cosmological models, such as ΛCDM, propose that dark matter halos and subhalos may contain galaxies. The dark matter halo of a galaxy envelops the galactic disc and extends well beyond the edge of the visible galaxy. Thought to consist of dark matter, halos have not been observed directly. Their existence is inferred through observations of their effects on the motions of stars and gas in galaxies and gravitational lensing. Dark matter halos play a key role in current models of galaxy formation and evolution. Theories that attempt to explain the nature of dark matter halos with varying degrees of success include cold dark matter (CDM), warm dark matter, and massive compact halo objects (MACHOs).

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