Wednesday, March 20, 2013

1303.4389 (Aaron A. Dutton et al.)

The bulge-halo conspiracy in massive elliptical galaxies: implications for the stellar initial mass function and halo response to baryonic processes    [PDF]

Aaron A. Dutton, Tommaso Treu
Recent studies have shown that massive elliptical galaxies have total mass density profiles within an effective radius that can be approximated as \rho_{tot}\propto r^{-\gamma'}, with mean slope <\gamma'>=2.08 \pm 0.03 and scatter \sigma_\gamma'=0.16 \pm 0.02. The small scatter of the slope (known as the bulge-halo conspiracy) is not generic in LCDM based models and therefore contains information about the galaxy formation process. We compute the distribution of \gamma' for LCDM-based models that reproduce the observed correlations between stellar mass, velocity dispersion, and effective radius of early-type galaxies in the SDSS. The models have a range of stellar initial mass functions (IMFs) and dark halo responses to galaxy formation. The observed distribution of \gamma' is well reproduced by a model with cosmologically motivated but uncontracted dark matter haloes, and a Salpeter-type IMF. Other models are on average ruled out by the data, even though they may happen in individual cases. Models with adiabatic halo contraction (and lighter IMFs) predict too small values of \gamma'. Models with halo expansion, or mass-follows-light predict too high values of \gamma'. Our study shows that the non-homologous structure of massive early-type galaxies can be precisely reproduced by LCDM models if the IMF is not universal and if mechanisms such as feedback from active galactic nuclei, or dynamical friction, effectively on average counterbalance the contraction of the halo expected as a result of baryonic cooling.
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