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Weakening dark matter cusps by clumpy baryonic infall

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journal contribution
posted on 24.10.2012, 09:08 by W. Dehnen, M. I. Wilkinson
We consider the infall of a massive clump into a dark matter halo as a simple and extreme model for the effect of baryonic physics (neglected in gravity-only simulations of large-scale structure formation) on the dark matter. We find that such an infalling clump is extremely efficient in altering the structure of the halo and reducing its central density: a clump of 1 per cent the mass of the halo can remove about twice its own mass from the inner halo and transform a cusp into a core or weaker cusp. If the clump is subsequently removed, mimicking a galactic wind, the central halo density is further reduced and the mass removed from the inner halo doubled. Lighter clumps are even more efficient: the ratio of removed mass to clump mass increases slightly towards smaller clump masses. This process becomes more efficient the more radially anisotropic the initial dark matter velocities are. While such a clumpy infall may be somewhat unrealistic, it demonstrates that the baryons need to transfer only a small fraction of their initial energy to the dark matter via dynamical friction to explain the discrepancy between predicted dark matter density profiles and those inferred from observations of dark-matter-dominated galaxies.

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Citation

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society , 2011, 416 (2), pp. 1118-1134

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Publisher

Oxford University Press (OUP)

issn

0035-8711

eissn

1365-2966

Copyright date

2011

Available date

24/10/2012

Publisher version

http://mnras.oxfordjournals.org/content/416/2/1118

Language

en

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