Journal Article

The total mass and dark halo properties of the Small Magellanic Cloud

Kenji Bekki and Snežana Stanimirović

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 395, issue 1, pages 342-350
Published in print May 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online April 2009 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
The total mass and dark halo properties of the Small Magellanic Cloud

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We discuss the total mass and dark halo properties of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) for reasonable V-band stellar-to-mass-to-light ratios (Ms/LV) based on the high-resolution neutral hydrogen (H i) observations of the SMC. We adopt both the Burkert and the Navarro–Frenk–White (NFW) profiles for the dark matter halo of the SMC in order to model the radial profile of the observed rotation curve. We show that the mass (Mdm) and the mean density (ρdm) of the dark matter halo within the optical radius (∼3 kpc) of the SMC can be significantly low for Ms/LV= 2−4 reasonable for a galaxy dominated by older stellar populations. For example, the estimated Mdm and ρdm are 7.5 × 107 M and 6.7 × 10−4 M pc−3, respectively, for Ms/LV= 3.8. The models with lower Ms/LV(<1.0) can show higher Mdm and ρdm yet have difficulties in reproducing the inner rotation curve profile for both the Burkert and the NFW profiles. The Burkert profile with a larger core radius (>1 kpc) (thus a low density) and a large mass (M dm > 3 × 109 M) can be better fit to the observed slowly rising rotation curve than the NFW one for a reasonable Ms/LV∼2. This means that most of the dark halo mass can be initially located outside the optical radius in the SMC and thus that the dark halo would have already lost a significant fraction of its original mass due to the strong tidal interactions with the Galaxy and possibly with the Large Magellanic Cloud. We suggest that the dark mater halo of the SMC is likely to have the initial total mass and core radius as large as, or larger than, 6.5 × 109 M and 3.2 kpc, respectively. We discuss limitations of the present model in estimating the total mass of the SMC.

Keywords: galaxies: dwarf; galaxies: kinematics and dynamics; galaxies: star clusters; galaxies: structure

Journal Article.  7006 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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