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2010A&A...519A..47A - Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 519, A47-47 (2010/9-1)

Self-consistent nonspherical isothermal halos embedding zero-thickness disks.


Abstract (from CDS):

That the rotation curves of spiral galaxies are generally flat in the outer regions is commonly considered an indication that galaxy disks are embedded in quasi-isothermal halos. In practice, disk-halo decompositions of galaxy rotation curves are performed in a parametric way by modeling the halo force contribution by means of expressions that approximately describe the properties of the regular isothermal sphere or other spherical density distributions suggested by cosmological simulations. In this paper we construct self-consistent models of nonspherical isothermal halos embedding a zero-thickness disk, by assuming that the halo distribution function is a Maxwellian. The general method developed here can also be used to study the properties of other physically-based choices for the halo distribution function and to the case of a disk accompanied by a bulge. The construction was performed by means of an iterative procedure that generalizes a method introduced in the past to construct spheroidal models of rotating elliptical galaxies. In a preliminary investigation, which set the empirical framework to study the self-consistent models developed in this paper, we note the existence of a fine tuning between the scalelengths RΩ and h, respectively characterizing the rise of the rotation curve and the luminosity profile of the disk, which surprisingly applies to both high surface brightness and low surface brightness galaxies in similar ways. We show that this empirical correlation identifies a much stronger conspiracy than the one required by the smoothness and flatness of the rotation curve and often referred to as disk-halo conspiracy. As a natural property, the self-consistent models presented in this paper are found to be characterized by smooth and flat rotation curves for very different disk-to-halo mass ratios, hence suggesting that conspiracy is not as dramatic as often imagined. For a typical, observed rotation curve, with asymptotically flat rotation curve at V (the precise value of which can also be treated as a free parameter), and a typical density profile of the disk, the relevant self-consistent models are characterized by two dimensionless parameters, which correspond to the dimensional scales (the disk mass-to-light ratio M/L and the halo central density) of standard disk-halo decompositions. We find that, if the rotation curve is decomposed by means of our self-consistent models, the disk-halo degeneracy is removed and that typical rotation curves are fitted by models that are below the maximum-disk prescription. Similar results are obtained from a study of NGC 3198. Finally, we quantify the flattening of the spheroidal halo, which is significant, especially on the scale of the visible disk.

Abstract Copyright:

Journal keyword(s): galaxies: spiral - galaxies: structure - galaxies: halos - galaxies: kinematics and dynamics - galaxies: individual: NGC 3198

Simbad objects: 40

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