Studying the Fundamental Nature of Dark Matter with the Smallest Galaxies
The existence of non-baryonic dark matter is strong evidence for new physics beyond the current Standard Model. While laboratory and collider searches for dark matter have advanced rapidly over the past several decades, astrophysical observations currently provide the only robust, positive, empirical measurement of dark matter. Astrophysical observables can be directly linked to the fundamental properties of dark matter, such as particle mass, self-interaction cross section, and self-annihilation rate. In this talk, I will describe how the Dark Energy Survey and the Fermi Gamma-Ray Space Telescope have advanced our understanding of dark matter through observations of the smallest and most dark-matter-dominated galaxies. These recent observations help to address the "missing satellites problem” and set strong constraints on thermal models of particle dark matter. The Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) promises even greater advances in our understanding of dark matter in the coming decade.