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The impact of the Large Magellanic Cloud on dark matter direct detection signals

Smith-Orlik, Adam; Ronaghi, Nima; Bozorgnia, Nassim; Cautun, Marius; Fattahi, Azadeh; Besla, Gurtina; Frenk, Carlos S.; Garavito-Camargo, Nicolás; Gómez, Facundo A.; Grand, Robert J.J.; Marinacci, Federico; Peter, Annika H.G.

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Adam Smith-Orlik

Nima Ronaghi

Nassim Bozorgnia

Marius Cautun

Azadeh Fattahi

Gurtina Besla

Nicolás Garavito-Camargo

Facundo A. Gómez

Robert J.J. Grand

Federico Marinacci

Annika H.G. Peter


We study the effect of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) on the dark matter (DM) distribution in the Solar neighborhood, utilizing the Auriga magneto-hydrodynamical simulations of Milky Way (MW) analogues that have an LMC-like system. We extract the local DM velocity distribution at different times during the orbit of the LMC around the MW in the simulations. As found in previous idealized simulations of the MW-LMC system, we find that the DM particles in the Solar neighborhood originating from the LMC analogue dominate the high speed tail of the local DM speed distribution. Furthermore, the native DM particles of the MW in the Solar region are boosted to higher speeds as a result of a response to the LMC's motion. We simulate the signals expected in near future xenon, germanium, and silicon direct detection experiments, considering DM interactions with target nuclei or electrons. We find that the presence of the LMC causes a considerable shift in the expected direct detection exclusion limits towards smaller cross sections and DM masses, with the effect being more prominent for low mass DM. Hence, our study shows, for the first time, that the LMC's influence on the local DM distribution is significant even in fully cosmological MW analogues.


Smith-Orlik, A., Ronaghi, N., Bozorgnia, N., Cautun, M., Fattahi, A., Besla, G., …Peter, A. H. (2023). The impact of the Large Magellanic Cloud on dark matter direct detection signals. Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics, 2023(10), Article 070.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 30, 2023
Online Publication Date Oct 27, 2023
Publication Date Oct 1, 2023
Deposit Date Dec 19, 2023
Publicly Available Date Dec 19, 2023
Journal Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
Publisher IOP Publishing
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 2023
Issue 10
Article Number 070
Keywords dark matter experiments, dark matter theory, hydrodynamical simulations, dark matter simulations
Public URL


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