Pre-reionization fossils, ultra-faint dwarfs, and the missing galactic satellite problem.
BOVILL M.S. and RICOTTI M.
Abstract (from CDS):
We argue that, at least a fraction of the newly discovered population of ultra-faint dwarf spheroidal galaxies in the Local Group constitute the fossil relic of a once ubiquitous population of dwarf galaxies formed before reionization with circular velocities smaller than vcrc∼ 20 km/s. We present several arguments in support of this model. The number of luminous Milky Way satellites inferred from observations is larger than the estimated number of dark halos in the Galaxy that have, or had in the past, a circular velocity greater than vcrc, as predicted by the "Via Lactea" simulation. This implies that some ultra-faint dwarfs are fossils. However, this argument is weakened by recent results from the "Aquarius" simulations showing that the number of Galactic dark matter satellites is 2.5 larger than previously believed. Secondly, the existence of a population of ultra-faint dwarfs was predicted by cosmological simulations in which star formation in the first minihalos is reduced–but not suppressed–by radiative feedback. Here, we show the statistical properties of the fossil galaxies in those simulations are consistent with observations of the new dwarf population and with the number and radial distribution of Milky Way satellites as a function of their luminosity. Finally, the observed Galactocentric distribution of dwarfs is consistent with a fraction of dwarf spheroidals being fossils. To make our case more compelling, future work should determine whether stellar chemical abundances of simulated "fossils" can reproduce observations and whether the tidal scenarios for the formation of Local Group dwarf spheroidals are equally consistent with all available observations.
cosmology: theory - galaxies: formation - stars: formation