Measuring the slopes of mass profiles for dwarf spheroidals in triaxial cold dark matter potentials

Chervin F. P. Laporte*, Matthew G. Walker, Jorge Penarrubia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

We generate stellar distribution functions (DFs) in triaxial haloes in order to examine the reliability of slopes Gamma equivalent to delta log M/delta log r inferred by applying mass estimators of the form M proportional to R-e Sigma(2) (i.e. assuming spherical symmetry, where R-e and Sigma are luminous effective radius and global velocity dispersion, respectively) to two stellar subpopulations independently tracing the same gravitational potential. The DFs take the form f(E), are dynamically stable and are generated within triaxial potentials corresponding directly to subhaloes formed in cosmological dark-matter-only simulations of Milky Way and galaxy cluster haloes. Additionally, we consider the effect of different tracer number density profiles (cuspy and cored) on the inferred slopes of mass profiles. For the isotropic DFs considered here, we find that halo triaxiality tends to introduce an anticorrelation between R-e and Sigma when estimated for a variety of viewing angles. The net effect is a negligible contribution to the systematic error associated with the slope of the mass profile, which continues to be dominated by a bias towards greater overestimation of masses for more concentrated tracer populations. We demonstrate that simple mass estimates for two distinct tracer populations can give reliable lower limits for Gamma, irrespective of the degree of triaxiality or shape of the tracer number density profile.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L54-L58
Number of pages5
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • galaxies: kinematics and dynamics
  • galaxies: structure


Dive into the research topics of 'Measuring the slopes of mass profiles for dwarf spheroidals in triaxial cold dark matter potentials'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this