On the dark matter profile in Sculptor: breaking the beta degeneracy with Virial shape parameters

Thomas Richardson*, Malcolm Fairbairn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We present a new method for studying tracers in gravitational systems where higher moments of the line-of-sight velocity distribution are introduced via Virial equations rather than the Jeans equations. Unlike the fourth-order Jeans equations, the fourth-order Virial equations can simply be added to the standard second-order Jeans equation without introducing a new anisotropy parameter beta('). We introduce two new global shape parameters zeta(A) and zeta(B) which replace the kurtosis as a more statistically robust measure of the shape of the line-of-sight velocity distribution. We show that in the case of stars in dwarf spheroidal galaxies these new parameters can significantly reduce the range of density profiles that are otherwise consistent with the observed stellar kinematics (a problem sometimes known as the beta degeneracy). Specifically, we find that zeta(A) focuses tightly on a sub-set of solutions where cusped density profiles are degenerate with more concentrated cored dark matter haloes. If the number density of stars nu(r) is fixed, then introducing zeta(B) can further reduce the space of solutions by constraining the outer slope of the dark matter density profile. Assuming a Plummer profile for nu(r), we recover the surprising result that the dark matter in Sculptor may be cuspy after all, in contrast to the conclusions of other approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1584-1600
Number of pages17
JournalMONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY
Volume441
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jun 2014

Keywords

  • galaxies: dwarf
  • galaxies: kinematics and dynamics
  • dark matter
  • DWARF SPHEROIDAL GALAXIES
  • MASS-ANISOTROPY DEGENERACY
  • MILKY-WAY SATELLITES
  • LOCAL GROUP
  • DENSITY PROFILES
  • PROPER MOTIONS
  • TIDAL TAILS
  • FORNAX
  • KINEMATICS
  • SEXTANS

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