As the only dark matter candidate that does not invoke a new particle that survives to the present day, primordial black holes (PBHs) have drawn increasing attention recently. Up to now, various observations have strongly constrained most of the mass range for PBHs, leaving only small windows where PBHs could make up a substantial fraction of the dark matter. Here we revisit the PBH constraints for the asteroid-mass window, i.e., the mass range 3.5× 10-17Msolar < mPBH < 4× 10-12Msolar. We revisit 3 categories of constraints. (1) For optical microlensing, we analyze the finite source size and diffractive effects and discuss the scaling relations between the event rate, mPBH and the event duration. We argue that it will be difficult to push the existing optical microlensing constraints to much lower mPBH. (2) For dynamical capture of PBHs in stars, we derive a general result on the capture rate based on phase space arguments. We argue that survival of stars does not constrain PBHs, but that disruption of stars by captured PBHs should occur and that the asteroid-mass PBH hypothesis could be constrained if we can work out the observational signature of this process. (3) For destruction of white dwarfs by PBHs that pass through the white dwarf without getting gravitationally captured, but which produce a shock that ignites carbon fusion, we perform a 1+1D hydrodynamic simulation to explore the post-shock temperature and relevant timescales, and again we find this constraint to be ineffective. In summary, we find that the asteroid-mass window, which was previously constrained due to femtolensing, WD survival, optical microlensing, and neutron star capture is no longer constrained. Hence, the asteroid-mass window remains open for PBHs to account for all the dark matter.
Journal of Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics
- Pub Date:
- August 2019
- Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics
- Updated to match accepted version for publication. 43 pages