NIHAO project II: halo shape, phase-space density and velocity distribution of dark matter in galaxy formation simulations Academic Article uri icon

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  • We use the NIHAO (Numerical Investigation of Hundred Astrophysical Objects) cosmological simulations to study the effects of galaxy formation on key properties of dark matter (DM) haloes. NIHAO consists of $\simeq 90$ high-resolution SPH simulations that include (metal-line) cooling, star formation, and feedback from massive stars and SuperNovae, and cover a wide stellar and halo mass range: $10^6 < M_* / M_{\odot} < 10^{11}$ ( $10^{9.5} < M_{\rm halo} / M_{\odot} < 10^{12.5}$). When compared to DM-only simulations, the NIHAO haloes have similar shapes at the virial radius, R_{\rm vir}, but are substantially rounder inside $\simeq 0.1R_{\rm vir}$. In NIHAO simulations $c/a$ increases with halo mass and integrated star formation efficiency, reaching $\sim 0.8$ at the Milky Way mass (compared to 0.5 in DM-only), providing a plausible solution to the long-standing conflict between observations and DM-only simulations. The radial profile of the phase-space $Q$ parameter ($\rho/\sigma^3$) is best fit with a single power law in DM-only simulations, but shows a flattening within $\simeq 0.1R_{\rm vir}$ for NIHAO for total masses $M>10^{11} M_{\odot}$. Finally, the global velocity distribution of DM is similar in both DM-only and NIHAO simulations, but in the solar neighborhood, NIHAO galaxies deviate substantially from Maxwellian. The distribution is more symmetric, roughly Gaussian, with a peak that shifts to higher velocities for Milky Way mass haloes. We provide the distribution parameters which can be used for predictions for direct DM detection experiments. Our results underline the ability of the galaxy formation processes to modify the properties of dark matter haloes.


  • Butsky, Iryna
  • Macciò, Andrea V
  • Dutton, Aaron A
  • Wang, Liang
  • Obreja, Aura
  • Stinson, Greg S
  • Penzo, Camilla
  • Kang, Xi
  • Keller, Ben W
  • Wadsley, James

publication date

  • October 11, 2016