12,025 research outputs found

    How to break the density-anisotropy degeneracy in spherical stellar systems

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    We present a new non-parametric Jeans code, GravSphere, that recovers the density ρ(r)\rho(r) and velocity anisotropy β(r)\beta(r) of spherical stellar systems, assuming only that they are in a steady-state. Using a large suite of mock data, we confirm that with only line-of-sight velocity data, GravSphere provides a good estimate of the density at the projected stellar half mass radius, ρ(R1/2)\rho(R_{1/2}), but is not able to measure ρ(r)\rho(r) or β(r)\beta(r), even with 10,000 tracer stars. We then test three popular methods for breaking this ρβ\rho-\beta degeneracy: using multiple populations with different R1/2R_{1/2}; using higher order `Virial Shape Parameters' (VSPs); and including proper motion data. We find that two populations provide an excellent recovery of ρ(r)\rho(r) in-between their respective R1/2R_{1/2}. However, even with a total of 7,000\sim 7,000 tracers, we are not able to well-constrain β(r)\beta(r) for either population. By contrast, using 1000 tracers with higher order VSPs we are able to measure ρ(r)\rho(r) over the range 0.5<r/R1/2<20.5 < r/R_{1/2} < 2 and broadly constrain β(r)\beta(r). Including proper motion data for all stars gives an even better performance, with ρ\rho and β\beta well-measured over the range 0.25<r/R1/2<40.25 < r/R_{1/2} < 4. Finally, we test GravSphere on a triaxial mock galaxy that has axis ratios typical of a merger remnant, [1:0.8:0.6][1:0.8:0.6]. In this case, GravSphere can become slightly biased. However, we find that when this occurs the data are poorly fit, allowing us to detect when such departures from spherical symmetry become problematic.Comment: 19 pages; 1 table; 11 Figures. Version accepted for publication in MNRAS. (Minor changes from previously. Appendix B added showing decreasing bias of VSP estimators with increasing sampling.

    The case for a cold dark matter cusp in Draco

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    We use a new mass modelling method, GravSphere, to measure the central dark matter density profile of the Draco dwarf spheroidal galaxy. Draco's star formation shut down long ago, making it a prime candidate for hosting a 'pristine' dark matter cusp, unaffected by stellar feedback during galaxy formation. We first test GravSphere on a suite of tidally stripped mock 'Draco'-like dwarfs. We show that we are able to correctly infer the dark matter density profile of both cusped and cored mocks within our 95% confidence intervals. While we obtain only a weak inference on the logarithmic slope of these density profiles, we are able to obtain a robust inference of the amplitude of the inner dark matter density at 150pc, ρDM(150pc)\rho_{\rm DM}(150\,{\rm pc}). We show that, combined with constraints on the density profile at larger radii, this is sufficient to distinguish a Λ\Lambda Cold Dark Matter (Λ\LambdaCDM) cusp - that has ρDM(150pc)>1.8×108Mkpc3\rho_{\rm DM}(150\,{\rm pc}) > 1.8 \times 10^8\,{\rm M}_\odot \,{\rm kpc}^{-3} - from alternative dark matter models that have lower inner densities. We then apply GravSphere to the real Draco data. We find that Draco has an inner dark matter density of ρDM(150pc)=2.40.6+0.5×108Mkpc3\rho_{\rm DM}(150\,{\rm pc}) = 2.4_{-0.6}^{+0.5} \times 10^8\,{\rm M}_\odot \,{\rm kpc}^{-3}, consistent with a Λ\LambdaCDM cusp. Using a velocity independent SIDM model, calibrated on Λ\LambdaSIDM cosmological simulations, we show that Draco's high central density gives an upper bound on the SIDM cross section of σ/m<0.57cm2g1\sigma/m < 0.57\,{\rm cm}^2\,{\rm g}^{-1} at 99% confidence. We conclude that the inner density of nearby dwarf galaxies like Draco provides a new and competitive probe of dark matter models.Comment: 19 pages, 11 Figures. Final version accepted for publication in MNRA

    Dark matter heats up in dwarf galaxies

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    Gravitational potential fluctuations driven by bursty star formation can kinematically 'heat up' dark matter at the centres of dwarf galaxies. A key prediction of such models is that, at a fixed dark matter halo mass, dwarfs with a higher stellar mass will have a lower central dark matter density. We use stellar kinematics and HI gas rotation curves to infer the inner dark matter densities of eight dwarf spheroidal and eight dwarf irregular galaxies with a wide range of star formation histories. For all galaxies, we estimate the dark matter density at a common radius of 150pc, ρDM(150pc)\rho_{\rm DM}(150\,\mathrm{pc}). We find that our sample of dwarfs falls into two distinct classes. Those that stopped forming stars over 6Gyrs ago favour central densities ρDM(150pc)>108Mkpc3\rho_{\rm DM}(150\,\mathrm{pc})>10^8\,{\rm M}_\odot\,{\rm kpc}^{-3}, consistent with cold dark matter cusps, while those with more extended star formation favour ρDM(150pc)<108Mkpc3\rho_{\rm DM}(150\,\mathrm{pc})<10^8\,{\rm M}_{\odot}\,{\rm kpc}^{-3}, consistent with shallower dark matter cores. Using abundance matching to infer pre-infall halo masses, M200M_{200}, we show that this dichotomy is in excellent agreement with models in which dark matter is heated up by bursty star formation. In particular, we find that ρDM(150pc)\rho_{\rm DM}(150\,\mathrm{pc}) steadily decreases with increasing stellar mass-to-halo mass ratio, M/M200M_*/M_{200}. Our results suggest that, to leading order, dark matter is a cold, collisionless, fluid that can be kinematically 'heated up' and moved around.Comment: 22 pages, 10 Figures. Final version accepted for publication in MNRA

    The stellar mass-halo mass relation of isolated field dwarfs: a critical test of Λ\LambdaCDM at the edge of galaxy formation

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    We fit the rotation curves of isolated dwarf galaxies to directly measure the stellar mass-halo mass relation (MM200M_*-M_{200}) over the mass range 5×105<M/M<1085 \times 10^5 < M_{*}/{\rm M}_\odot < 10^{8}. By accounting for cusp-core transformations due to stellar feedback, we find a monotonic relation with little scatter. Such monotonicity implies that abundance matching should yield a similar MM200M_*-M_{200} if the cosmological model is correct. Using the 'field galaxy' stellar mass function from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and the halo mass function from the Λ\Lambda Cold Dark Matter Bolshoi simulation, we find remarkable agreement between the two. This holds down to M2005×109M_{200} \sim 5 \times 10^9M_\odot, and to M2005×108M_{200} \sim 5 \times 10^8M_\odot if we assume a power law extrapolation of the SDSS stellar mass function below M107M_* \sim 10^7M_\odot. However, if instead of SDSS we use the stellar mass function of nearby galaxy groups, then the agreement is poor. This occurs because the group stellar mass function is shallower than that of the field below M109M_* \sim 10^9M_\odot, recovering the familiar 'missing satellites' and 'too big to fail' problems. Our result demonstrates that both problems are confined to group environments and must, therefore, owe to 'galaxy formation physics' rather than exotic cosmology. Finally, we repeat our analysis for a Λ\Lambda Warm Dark Matter cosmology, finding that it fails at 68% confidence for a thermal relic mass of mWDM<1.25m_{\rm WDM} < 1.25keV, and mWDM<2m_{\rm WDM} < 2keV if we use the power law extrapolation of SDSS. We conclude by making a number of predictions for future surveys based on these results.Comment: 22 pages; 2 Tables; 10 Figures. This is the version accepted for publication in MNRAS. Key changes: (i) added substantially more information on the surveys used to measure the stellar mass functions; (ii) added tests of the robustness of our results. Results and conclusions unchanged from previously. Minor typos corrected from previous versio

    On the formation of dwarf galaxies and stellar halos

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    Using analytic arguments and a suite of very high resolution (10^3 Msun per particle) cosmological hydro-dynamical simulations, we argue that high redshift, z ~ 10, M ~ 10^8 Msun halos, form the smallest `baryonic building block' (BBB) for galaxy formation. These halos are just massive enough to efficiently form stars through atomic line cooling and to hold onto their gas in the presence of supernovae winds and reionisation. These combined effects, in particular that of the supernovae feedback, create a sharp transition: over the mass range 3-10x10^7 Msun, the BBBs drop two orders ofmagnitude in stellar mass. Below ~2x10^7 Msun, galaxies will be dark with almost no stars and no gas. Above this scale is the smallest unit of galaxy formation: the BBB. A small fraction (~100) of these gas rich BBBs fall in to a galaxy the size of the Milky Way. Ten percent of these survive to become the observed LG dwarf galaxies at the present epoch. Those in-falling halos on benign orbits which keep them far away from the Milky Way or Andromeda manage to retain their gas and slowly form stars - these become the smallest dwarf irregular galax ies; those on more severe orbits lose their gas faster than they can form stars and become the dwarf spheroidals. The remaining 90% of the BBBs will be accreted. We show that this gives a metallicity and total stellar mass consistent with the Milky Way old stellar halo (abridged).Comment: 15 pages, 7 figures, one figure added to match accepted version. Some typos fixed. MNRAS in pres

    Dark matter cores all the way down

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    We use high resolution simulations of isolated dwarf galaxies to study the physics of dark matter cusp-core transformations at the edge of galaxy formation: M200 = 10^7 - 10^9 Msun. We work at a resolution (~4 pc minimum cell size; ~250 Msun per particle) at which the impact from individual supernovae explosions can be resolved, becoming insensitive to even large changes in our numerical 'sub-grid' parameters. We find that our dwarf galaxies give a remarkable match to the stellar light profile; star formation history; metallicity distribution function; and star/gas kinematics of isolated dwarf irregular galaxies. Our key result is that dark matter cores of size comparable to the stellar half mass radius (r_1/2) always form if star formation proceeds for long enough. Cores fully form in less than 4 Gyrs for the M200 = 10^8 Msun and 14 Gyrs for the 10^9 Msun dwarf. We provide a convenient two parameter 'coreNFW' fitting function that captures this dark matter core growth as a function of star formation time and the projected stellar half mass radius. Our results have several implications: (i) we make a strong prediction that if LCDM is correct, then 'pristine' dark matter cusps will be found either in systems that have truncated star formation and/or at radii r > r_1/2; (ii) complete core formation lowers the projected velocity dispersion at r_1/2 by a factor ~2, which is sufficient to fully explain the 'too big to fail problem'; and (iii) cored dwarfs will be much more susceptible to tides, leading to a dramatic scouring of the subhalo mass function inside galaxies and groups.Comment: 20 pages; 9 figures; final version to appear in MNRAS including typos corrected in proo

    Bivariate galaxy luminosity functions in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

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    Bivariate luminosity functions (LFs) are computed for galaxies in the New York Value-Added Galaxy Catalogue, based on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 4. The galaxy properties investigated are the morphological type, inverse concentration index, Sérsic index, absolute effective surface brightness (SB), reference frame colours, absolute radius, eClass spectral type, stellar mass and galaxy environment. The morphological sample is flux limited to galaxies with r < 15.9 and consists of 37 047 classifications to an rms accuracy of ± half a class in the sequence E, S0, Sa, Sb, Sc, Sd, Im. These were assigned by an artificial neural network, based on a training set of 645 eyeball classifications. The other samples use r < 17.77 with a median redshift of z∼ 0.08, and a limiting redshift of z < 0.15 to minimize the effects of evolution. Other cuts, for example in axis ratio, are made to minimize biases. A wealth of detail is seen, with clear variations between the LFs according to absolute magnitude and the second parameter. They are consistent with an early-type, bright, concentrated, red population and a late-type, faint, less concentrated, blue, star-forming population. This bimodality suggests two major underlying physical processes, which in agreement with previous authors we hypothesize to be merger and accretion, associated with the properties of bulges and discs, respectively. The bivariate luminosity–SB distribution is fit with the Chołoniewski function (a Schechter function in absolute magnitude and Gaussian in SB). The fit is found to be poor, as might be expected if there are two underlying processes

    The tidal stripping of satellites

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    We present an improved analytic calculation for the tidal radius of satellites and test our results against N-body simulations. The tidal radius in general depends upon four factors: the potential of the host galaxy, the potential of the satellite, the orbit of the satellite and {\it the orbit of the star within the satellite}. We demonstrate that this last point is critical and suggest using {\it three tidal radii} to cover the range of orbits of stars within the satellite. In this way we show explicitly that prograde star orbits will be more easily stripped than radial orbits; while radial orbits are more easily stripped than retrograde ones. This result has previously been established by several authors numerically, but can now be understood analytically. For point mass, power-law (which includes the isothermal sphere), and a restricted class of split power law potentials our solution is fully analytic. For more general potentials, we provide an equation which may be rapidly solved numerically. Over short times (\simlt 1-2 Gyrs 1\sim 1 satellite orbit), we find excellent agreement between our analytic and numerical models. Over longer times, star orbits within the satellite are transformed by the tidal field of the host galaxy. In a Hubble time, this causes a convergence of the three limiting tidal radii towards the prograde stripping radius. Beyond the prograde stripping radius, the velocity dispersion will be tangentially anisotropic.Comment: 10 pages, 5 figures. Final version accepted for publication in MNRAS. Some new fully analytic tidal radii have been added for power law density profiles (including the isothermal sphere) and some split power law