Journal Article

Satellite kinematics – I. A new method to constrain the halo mass–luminosity relation of central galaxies

Surhud More, Frank C. Van Den Bosch and Marcello Cacciato

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 392, issue 2, pages 917-924
Published in print January 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online December 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Satellite kinematics – I. A new method to constrain the halo mass–luminosity relation of central galaxies

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Satellite kinematics can be used to probe the masses of dark matter haloes of central galaxies. In order to measure the kinematics with sufficient signal-to-noise ratio, one uses the satellite galaxies of a large number of central galaxies stacked according to similar properties (e.g. luminosity). However, in general, the relation between the luminosity of a central galaxy and the mass of its host halo will have non-zero scatter. Consequently, this stacking results in combining the kinematics of satellite galaxies in haloes of different masses, which complicates the interpretation of the data. In this paper, we present an analytical framework to model satellite kinematics, properly accounting for this scatter and for various selection effects. We show that in the presence of scatter in the halo mass–luminosity relation, the commonly used velocity dispersion of satellite galaxies can not be used to infer a unique halo mass–luminosity relation. In particular, we demonstrate that there is a degeneracy between the mean and the scatter of the halo mass–luminosity relation. We present a new technique that can break this degeneracy, and which involves measuring the velocity dispersions using two different weighting schemes: host weighting (each central galaxy gets the same weight) and satellite weighting (each central galaxy gets a weight proportional to its number of satellites). The ratio between the velocity dispersions obtained using these two weighting schemes is sensitive to the scatter in the halo mass–luminosity relation, and can thus be used to infer a unique relation between light and mass from the kinematics of satellite galaxies.

Keywords: methods: statistical; galaxies: fundamental parameters; galaxies: haloes; galaxies: kinematics and dynamics; galaxies: structure

Journal Article.  6479 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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