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Why doesn't dark matter clump together?

  1. Apr 4, 2013 #1
    I understand there are no friction forces to slow it down but there are other means of dissipating kinetic energy.

    Every time 2 dark matter particles come close enough to interact gravitationally there should be some exchange of momentum. If there is a cloud of dark matter particles, such as in and around a galaxy, there would be constant re-distribution of momentum. Each time a particle acquires enough momentum to escape the cloud the average momentum of the particles in the cloud is reduced. This would be a sort of evaporation that continually lowers the average temperature of the cloud. Cosmic expansion would create a difference between the amount of energy gained from incoming particles and that lost with outgoing particles. The result of all this should be small, dense, bodies of dark matter.

    I understand that small, dense, non-luminous bodies have been ruled out as dark matter candidates. What prevents dark matter from behaving as I have suggested?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 4, 2013 #2


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    Sure, but that momentum exchange is tiny. Gravitational attraction between individual particles is almost negligible. It is sufficient to give clumping on the scale of galaxies (where you have many particles interacting at the same time), but not on smaller scales within the current lifetime of the universe.
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