The dynamical fingerprint of core scouring in massive elliptical galaxies.
THOMAS J., SAGLIA R.P., BENDER R., ERWIN P. and FABRICIUS M.
Abstract (from CDS):
The most massive elliptical galaxies have low-density centers or cores that differ dramatically from the high-density centers of less massive ellipticals and bulges of disk galaxies. These cores have been interpreted as the result of mergers of supermassive black hole binaries, which depopulate galaxy centers by gravitationally slingshotting central stars toward large radii. Such binaries naturally form in mergers of luminous galaxies. Here, we analyze the population of central stellar orbits in 11 massive elliptical galaxies that we observed with the integral field spectrograph SINFONI at the European Southern Observatory Very Large Telescope. Our dynamical analysis is orbit-based and includes the effects of a central black hole, the mass distribution of the stars, and a dark matter halo. We show that the use of integral field kinematics and the inclusion of dark matter is important to conclude on the distribution of stellar orbits in galaxy centers. Six of our galaxies are core galaxies. In these six galaxies, but not in the galaxies without cores, we detect a coherent lack of stars on radial orbits in the core region and a uniform excess of radial orbits outside of it: when scaled by the core radius rb, the radial profiles of the classical anisotropy parameter β(r) are nearly identical in core galaxies. Moreover, they quantitatively match the predictions of black hole binary simulations, providing the first convincing dynamical evidence for core scouring in the most massive elliptical galaxies.
galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD - galaxies: evolution - galaxies: kinematics and dynamics - galaxies: structure