black holes as the dark matter

Today Cameron Norton (NYU) gave a great brown-bag talk on the possibility that the dark matter might be asteroid-mass-scale black holes. This is allowed by all constraints at present: If the masses are much smaller, the black holes evaporate or emit observably. If the black holes are much smaller, they would create observable microlensing or dynamical signatures.

She and Kleban (NYU) are working on methods for creating such black holes primordially, by modifying hte potential at inflation, creating opportunities for bubble nucleations in inflation that would subsequently collapse into small black holes after the Universe exits inflation. It's speculative obviously, but not ruled out at present!

An argument broke out during and after the talk whether you would be injured if you were intersected by a 1020 g black hole! My position is that you would be totally fine! Everyone else in the room disagreed with me, for many different reasons. Time to get calculating.

Another great idea: Could we find stars that have captured low-mass black holes by looking for the radial-velocity signal? I got really interested in this one at the end.

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