Alas, the dark matter structures were not that trivial

Astronomy and Astrophysics – Astrophysics

Scientific paper

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4 pages, 3 figures, accepted for publication in ApJL

Scientific paper


The radial density profile of dark matter structures has been observed to have an almost universal behaviour in numerical simulations, however, the physical reason for this behaviour remains unclear. It has previously been shown that if the pseudo phase-space density, rho/sigma_d^epsilon, is a beautifully simple power-law in radius, with the "golden values" epsilon=3 and d=r (i.e., the phase-space density is only dependent on the radial component of the velocity dispersion), then one can analytically derive the radial variation of the mass profile, dispersion profile etc. That would imply, if correct, that we just have to explain why rho/sigma^3_r ~r^{-alpha}, and then we would understand everything about equilibrated DM structures. Here we use a set of simulated galaxies and clusters of galaxies to demonstrate that there are no such golden values, but that each structure instead has its own set of values. Considering the same structure at different redshifts shows no evolution of the phase-space parameters towards fixed points. There is also no clear connection between the halo virialized mass and these parameters. This implies that we still do not understand the origin of the profiles of dark matter structures.

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