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4.3 Dark matter in the Universe

4.3.1 Large Scale Structure

Work on the distribution of galaxies has shown the presence of large scale structure in the Universe. Large scale flows exist between these structures, and indicate the presence of dark matter on ever larger scales. A review of this field has been made by Dekel (1994). From a variety of methods, one can infer that in general Omega stays less than 1, but at least as large as 0.2-0.3.

4.3.2 Big Bang nucleosynthesis and the amount of baryons

One of the colloraries of the standard Big Bang model is the calculation of the nucleosynthesis of the primordial elements. A first calculation was done in the seventies, and compared with the observational data on D2, He3, He4 and Li7. These calculations and comparison data are now more and more refined, but recent work still has it that the upper limit to baryonic dark matter is OmegaB leq 0.02 h-2 with h ident H0 / (100 km s-1 Mpc-1). (e.g. Copi et al. 1995). The difficulties surrounding the determination of the Hubble Constant need not to be emphasized, but a lower limit for h is 0.4, and more likely h appeq 0.75 (Madore et al. 1998). Thus OmegaB is at most 0.13, and more likely about 0.04, which is lower than the values observed in groups and clusters if those were typical for the Universe as a whole. It is interesting to note that for some clusters, like the Coma cluster, the gas fraction as detected by X-rays alone might exceed the upper bound derived from Big Bang nucleosynthesis if the Universe is at closure density (cf. White et al. 1993).

4.3.3 Omega = 1 ?

In the early 80's, the most popular scenario for cosmology is the inflation scenario, which could account for the fact that the observed matter density in the universe is close to the critical density. In fact, it was postulated that the matter density, expressed in terms of the critical density, Omega, is exactly 1. Thus, compared to the results from Big Bang nucleosynthesis, there is a lot of dark matter not in baryonic form, but most likely in the form of a Weakly Interacting Massive Particle (WIMP). This hypothesis still persists until today, since it is theoretically very attractive. However, the actual measurements of the matter density, though difficult, come out to be Omega ~ 0.2 (cf. Bahcall et al. 1995), which lead some people to think that all of the dark matter could still be baryonic. Only further work will tell what the real answer is.

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