Dynamical mass measurements inform us of the local dark matter density, which is a crucial quantity for direct and indirect dark matter searches. Thanks to the Gaia mission, the kinematics of the Milky Way are mapped with a greater depth and precision than ever before. Despite this, a strong consensus has not emerged regarding our galaxy’s gravitational potential and matter density distribution. Gaia has highlighted non-stationary dynamics that bias traditional methods that are based on the assumption of a steady state (e.g. Jeans modelling). Furthermore, uncertainties of the baryonic distribution are still significant. We review recent progress and challenges in this field. We also highlight a couple of alternative methods that are not contingent on the assumption of stationarity, for example a new method for weighing the galactic disk using the phase-space spiral that was discovered with Gaia. A better understanding and modelling of the Milky Way’s time-varying dynamics will improve the precision and accuracy of local dark matter density determinations.
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