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Non-circular motions and the diversity of dwarf galaxy rotation curves

Oman, Kyle A; Marasco, Antonino; Navarro, Julio F; Frenk, Carlos S; Schaye, Joop; Benítez-Llambay, Alejandro

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Kyle A Oman

Antonino Marasco

Julio F Navarro

Joop Schaye

Alejandro Benítez-Llambay


We use mock interferometric H I measurements and a conventional tilted-ring modelling procedure to estimate circular velocity curves of dwarf galaxy discs from the APOSTLE suite of Λ cold dark matter cosmological hydrodynamical simulations. The modelling yields a large diversity of rotation curves for an individual galaxy at fixed inclination, depending on the line-of-sight orientation. The diversity is driven by non-circular motions in the gas; in particular, by strong bisymmetric fluctuations in the azimuthal velocities that the tilted-ring model is ill-suited to account for and that are difficult to detect in model residuals. Large misestimates of the circular velocity arise when the kinematic major axis coincides with the extrema of the fluctuation pattern, in some cases mimicking the presence of kiloparsec-scale density ‘cores’, when none are actually present. The thickness of APOSTLE discs compounds this effect: more slowly rotating extra-planar gas systematically reduces the average line-of-sight speeds. The recovered rotation curves thus tend to underestimate the true circular velocity of APOSTLE galaxies in the inner regions. Non-circular motions provide an appealing explanation for the large apparent cores observed in galaxies such as DDO 47 and DDO 87, where the model residuals suggest that such motions might have affected estimates of the inner circular velocities. Although residuals from tilted-ring models in the simulations appear larger than in observed galaxies, our results suggest that non-circular motions should be carefully taken into account when considering the evidence for dark matter cores in individual galaxies.


Oman, K. A., Marasco, A., Navarro, J. F., Frenk, C. S., Schaye, J., & Benítez-Llambay, A. (2018). Non-circular motions and the diversity of dwarf galaxy rotation curves. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 482(1), 821-847.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 27, 2018
Online Publication Date Oct 4, 2018
Publication Date Oct 4, 2018
Deposit Date Oct 31, 2018
Publicly Available Date Oct 31, 2018
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Electronic ISSN 1365-2966
Publisher Royal Astronomical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 482
Issue 1
Pages 821-847


Published Journal Article (5 Mb)

Copyright Statement
This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2018 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

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