Abstract:
A potential flux of high-energy neutrinos from the annihilation of dark matter particles trapped within the Sun has been exploited to place indirect limits on particle dark matter. In most models, the dark matter interacts weakly, but the possibility of a dark matter particle with a large cross section for elastic scattering with itself has been proposed in several contexts. I study the consequences of such dark matter self-interactions for the high-energy neutrino flux from annihilation within the Sun. The self-interaction may allow dark matter in the halo to be captured within the Sun by scattering off of previously-captured dark matter within the Sun. This effect is not negligible in acceptable and accessible regions of parameter space. Enhancements in the predicted high-energy neutrino flux from the Sun of tens to hundreds of percent can be realized in broad regions of parameter space. Enhancements as large as factors of several hundred may be realized in extreme regions of the viable parameter space. Large enhancements require the dark matter annihilation cross section to be relatively small, sigma*v <~ 10^-27 cm^3/s. This phenomenology is interesting. First, self-capture is negligible for the Earth, so dark matter self-interactions break the correspondence between the solar and terrestrial neutrino signals. Likewise, the correspondence between indirect and direct detection limits on scattering cross sections on nuclei is broken by the self-interaction. These broken correspondences may evince strong dark matter self-interactions. In some cases, self-capture can lead to observable indirect signals in regions of parameter space where limits on dark matter-nucleon cross sections from direct detection would indicate that no such signal should be observable.

Abstract:
Forthcoming projects such as the DES, a JDEM, and LSST, aim to measure weak lensing shear correlations with unprecedented accuracy. Weak lensing observables are sensitive to both the distance-redshift relation and the growth of structure in the Universe. If the cause of accelerated cosmic expansion is dark energy within general relativity (GR), both cosmic distances and structure growth are governed by the properties of dark energy. Consequently, one may use lensing to check for this consistency and test GR. After reviewing the phenomenology of such tests, we address one major challenge to such a program. The evolution of the baryonic component of the Universe is highly uncertain and can influence lensing observables, manifesting as modified structure growth for a fixed cosmic distance scale. Using two proposed methods, we show that one could be led to reject the null hypothesis of GR when it is the true theory if this uncertainty in baryonic processes is neglected. Recent simulations suggest that we can correct for baryonic effects using a parametrized model in which the halo mass-concentration relation is modified. The correction renders biases small compared to statistical uncertainties. We study the ability of future weak lensing surveys to constrain the internal structures of halos and test the null hypothesis of GR simultaneously. Compared to nulling information from small-scales to mitigate sensitivity to baryonic physics, this internal calibration program should provide limits on deviations from GR that are several times more constraining. Specifically, we find that limits on general relativity in the case of internal calibration are degraded by only ~30% or less compared to the case of perfect knowledge of nonlinear structure.

Abstract:
We study energy transport by asymmetric dark matter in the interiors of very low-mass stars and brown dwarfs. Our motivation is to explore astrophysical signatures of asymmetric dark matter, which otherwise may not be amenable to conventional indirect dark matter searches. In viable models, the additional cooling of very-low mass stellar cores can alter stellar properties. Asymmetric dark matter with mass 4 < Mx/GeV < 10 and a spin-dependent (spin-independent) cross sections of sigma \sim 10^{-37} cm^2 (sigma \sim 10^{-40} cm^2) can increase the minimum mass of main sequence hydrogen burning, partly determining whether or not the object is a star at all. Similar dark matter candidates reduce the luminosities of low-mass stars and accelerate the cooling of brown dwarfs. Such light dark matter is of particular interest given results from the DAMA, CoGeNT, and CRESST dark matter searches. We discuss possibilities for observing dark matter effects in stars in the solar neighborhood, globular clusters, and, of particular promise, local dwarf galaxies, among other environments, as well as exploiting these effects to constrain dark matter properties.

Abstract:
(ABRIDGED) We present a semi-analytic model to explore merger histories, destruction rates, and survival probabilities of substructure in dark matter halos and use it to study the substructure populations of galaxy-sized halos as a function of the power spectrum. We successfully reproduce the subhalo velocity function and radial distribution seen in N-body simulations for standard LCDM. We explore the implications of spectra with normalizations and tilts spanning sigma_8 = 0.65-1 and n = 0.8-1. We also study a running index (RI) model with dn/dlnk=-0.03, as discussed in the first year WMAP report, and several WDM models with masses m_W = 0.75, 1.5, 3.0 keV. The substructure mass fraction is relatively insensitive to the tilt and overall normalization of the power spectrum. All CDM-type models yield projected substructure mass fractions that are consistent with, but on the low side of, estimates from strong lens systems: f = 0.4-1.5% (64 percentile) in systems M_sub < 10^9 Msun. Truncated models produce significantly smaller fractions and are disfavored by lensing results. We compare our predicted subhalo velocity functions to the dwarf satellite population of the Milky Way. Assuming isotropic velocity dispersions, we find the standard n=1 model overpredicts the number of MW satellites as expected. Models with less small-scale power are more successful because there are fewer subhalos of a given circular velocity and the mapping between observed velocity dispersion and halo circular velocity is markedly altered. The RI model, or a fixed tilt with sigma_8=0.75, can account for the MW dwarfs without the need for differential feedback; however, these comparisons depend sensitively on the assumption of isotropic velocities in satellite galaxies.

Abstract:
Although the currently favored cold dark matter plus cosmological constant model for structure formation assumes an n=1 scale-invariant initial power spectrum, most inflation models produce at least mild deviations from n=1. Because the lever arm from the CMB normalization to galaxy scales is long, even a small ``tilt'' can have important implications for galactic observations. Here we calculate the COBE-normalized power spectra for several well-motivated models of inflation and compute implications for the substructure content and central densities of galaxy halos. Using an analytic model, normalized against N-body simulations, we show that while halos in the standard (n=1) model are overdense by a factor of ~6 compared to observations, several of our example inflation+LCDM models predict halo densities well within the range of observations, which prefer models with n ~ 0.85. We go on to use a semi-analytic model (also normalized against N-body simulations) to follow the merger histories of galaxy-sized halos and track the orbital decay, disruption, and evolution of the merging substructure. Models with n ~0.85 predict a factor of ~3 fewer subhalos at a fixed circular velocity than the standard $n = 1$ case. Although this level of reduction does not resolve the ``dwarf satellite problem'', it does imply that the level of feedback required to match the observed number of dwarfs is sensitive to the initial power spectrum. Finally, the fraction of galaxy-halo mass that is bound up in substructure is consistent with limits imposed by multiply imaged quasars for all models considered: f_sub > 0.01 even for an effective tilt of n ~0.8.We conclude that, at their current level, lensing constraints of this kind do not provide strong limits on the primordial power spectrum.

Abstract:
In this proceeding, we present the results of a semi-analytic study of CDM substructure as a function of the primordial power spectrum. We apply our method to several tilted models in the LCDM framework with n=0.85-1.1, sigma_8=0.65-1.2 when COBE normalized. We also study a more extreme, warm dark matter-like spectrum that is sharply truncated below a scale of 10^10 h^-1 Msun. We show that the mass fraction of halo substructure is not a strong function of spectral slope, so it likely will be difficult to constrain tilt using flux ratios of gravitationally lensed quasars. On the positive side, all of our CDM-type models yield projected mass fractions in good agreement with strong lensing estimates: f \sim 1.5% at M \sim 10^8 Msun. The truncated model produces a significantly smaller fraction, f \lsim 0.3%, suggesting that warm dark matter-like spectra may be distinguished from CDM spectra using lensing. We also discuss the issue of dwarf satellite abundances, with emphasis on the cosmological dependence of the map between the observed central velocity dispersion of Milky Way satellites and the maximum circular velocities of their host halos. In agreement with earlier work, we find that standard LCDM over-predicts the estimated count of Milky Way satellites at fixed Vmax by an order of magnitude, but tilted models do better because subhalos are less concentrated. Interestingly, under the assumption that dwarfs have isotropic velocity dispersion tensors, models with significantly tilted spectra (n \lsim 0.85, sigma_8 \lsim 0.7) may under-predict the number of large Milky Way satellites with Vmax \gsim 40 km/s.

Abstract:
We discuss bounds on the cosmological relativistic energy density as a function of redshift, reviewing the big bang nucleosynthesis and cosmic microwave background bounds, updating bounds from large scale structure, and introducing a new bound from the magnitude-redshift relation of Type Ia supernovae. We conclude that the standard and well-motivated assumption that relativistic energy is negligible during recent epochs is not necessitated by extant data. We then demonstrate the utility of these bounds by constraining the mass and lifetime of a hypothetical massive big bang relic particle.

Abstract:
The nature of the dark matter remains a mystery. The possibility of an unstable dark matter particle decaying to invisible daughter particles has been explored many times in the past few decades. Meanwhile, weak gravitational lensing shear has gained a lot of attention as a probe of dark energy. Weak lensing is a useful tool for constraining the stability of the dark matter. In the coming decade a number of large, galaxy imaging surveys will be undertaken and will measure the statistics of cosmological weak lensing with unprecedented precision. Weak lensing statistics are sensitive to unstable dark matter in at least two ways. Dark matter decays alter the matter power spectrum and change the angular diameter distance-redshift relation. We show how measurements of weak lensing shear correlations may provide the most restrictive, model-independent constraints on the lifetime of unstable dark matter. Our results rely on assumptions regarding nonlinear evolution of density fluctuations in scenarios of unstable dark matter and one of our aims is to stimulate interest in theoretical work on nonlinear structure growth in unstable dark matter models.

Abstract:
In this paper we explore the effect of decaying dark matter (DDM) on large-scale structure and possible constraints from galaxy imaging surveys. DDM models have been studied, in part, as a way to address apparent discrepancies between the predictions of standard cold dark matter models and observations of galactic structure. Our study is aimed at developing independent constraints on these models. In such models, DDM decays into a less massive, stable dark matter (SDM) particle and a significantly lighter particle. The small mass splitting between the parent DDM and the daughter SDM provides the SDM with a recoil or "kick" velocity vk, inducing a free-streaming suppression of matter fluctuations. This suppression may be probed via weak lensing power spectra measured by a number of forthcoming imaging surveys that aim primarily to constrain dark energy. Using scales on which linear perturbation theory alone is valid (multipoles < 300), surveys like Euclid or LSST can be sensitive to vk > 90 km/s for lifetimes ~ 1-5 Gyr. To estimate more aggressive constraints, we model nonlinear corrections to lensing power using a simple halo evolution model that is in good agreement with numerical simulations. In our most ambitious forecasts, using multipoles < 3000, we find that imaging surveys can be sensitive to vk ~ 10 km/s for lifetimes < 10 Gyr. Lensing will provide a particularly interesting complement to existing constraints in that they will probe the long lifetime regime far better than contemporary techniques. A caveat to these ambitious forecasts is that the evolution of perturbations on nonlinear scales will need to be well calibrated by numerical simulations before they can be realized. This work motivates the pursuit of such a numerical simulation campaign to constrain dark matter with cosmological weak lensing.

Abstract:
Recent kinematical constraints on the internal densities of the Milky Way's dwarf satellites have revealed a discrepancy with the subhalo populations of simulated Galaxy-scale halos in the standard CDM model of hierarchical structure formation. This has been dubbed the "too big to fail" problem, with reference to the improbability of large and invisible companions existing in the Galactic environment. In this paper, we argue that both the Milky Way observations and simulated subhalos are consistent with the predictions of the standard model for structure formation. Specifically, we show that there is significant variation in the properties of subhalos among distinct host halos of fixed mass and suggest that this can reasonably account for the deficit of dense satellites in the Milky Way. We exploit well-tested analytic techniques to predict the properties in a large sample of distinct host halos with a variety of masses spanning the range expected of the Galactic halo. The analytic model produces subhalo populations consistent with both Via Lactea II and Aquarius, and our results suggest that natural variation in subhalo properties suffices to explain the discrepancy between Milky Way satellite kinematics and these numerical simulations. At least ~10% of Milky Way-sized halos host subhalo populations for which there is no "too big to fail" problem, even when the host halo mass is as large as M_host = 10^12.2 h^-1 M_sun. Follow-up studies consisting of high-resolution simulations of a large number of Milky Way-sized hosts are necessary to confirm our predictions. In the absence of such efforts, the "too big to fail" problem does not appear to be a significant challenge to the standard model of hierarchical formation. [abridged]