Journal Article

Spatial and luminosity distributions of galactic satellites

Quan Guo, Shaun Cole, Vincent Eke, Carlos Frenk and John Helly

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 434, issue 3, pages 1838-1848
Published in print September 2013 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online August 2013 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Spatial and luminosity distributions of galactic satellites

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We investigate the luminosity functions and projected number density profiles of galactic satellites around isolated primaries of different luminosity. We measure these quantities for model satellites placed into the Millennium and Millennium II dark matter simulations by the GALFORM semi-analytic galaxy formation model for different bins of primary galaxy magnitude and we investigate their dependence on satellite luminosity. We compare our model predictions to the data of Guo et al. from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 8 (SDSS DR8). First, we use a mock light-cone catalogue to verify that the method we used to count satellites in the SDSS DR8 is unbiased. We find that the radial distributions of model satellites can be fitted by a Navarro–Frenk–White profile similar to those around comparable primary galaxies in the SDSS DR8, with only slight differences at low luminosities and small projected radii. However, when splitting the satellites by colour, the model and SDSS satellite systems no longer resemble one another, with many red model satellites in contrast to the dominant blue fraction at similar luminosity in the SDSS. The few model blue satellites are also significantly less centrally concentrated in the halo of their stacked primary than their SDSS counterparts. We discuss how these discrepancies may reflect inadequacies in the treatment of the processes that determine the star formation histories of small galaxies in the model.

Keywords: galaxies: dwarf; galaxies: fundamental parameters; Local Group; galaxies: statistics; galaxies: structure

Journal Article.  7275 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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