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Missing dark matter in dwarf galaxies?

Oman, K.A.; Navarro, J.F.; Sales, L.V.; Fattahi, A.; Frenk, C.S.; Sawala, T.; Schaller, M.; White, S.D.M.

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K.A. Oman

J.F. Navarro

L.V. Sales

A. Fattahi

T. Sawala

M. Schaller

S.D.M. White


We use cosmological hydrodynamical simulations of the APOSTLE project along with high-quality rotation curve observations to examine the fraction of baryons in ΛCDM haloes that collect into galaxies. This ‘galaxy formation efficiency’ correlates strongly and with little scatter with halo mass, dropping steadily towards dwarf galaxies. The baryonic mass of a galaxy may thus be used to place a lower limit on total halo mass and, consequently, on its asymptotic maximum circular velocity. A number of observed dwarfs seem to violate this constraint, having baryonic masses up to 10 times higher than expected from their rotation speeds, or, alternatively, rotating at only half the speed expected for their mass. Taking the data at face value, either these systems have formed galaxies with extraordinary efficiency – highly unlikely given their shallow potential wells – or their dark matter content is much lower than expected from ΛCDM haloes. This ‘missing dark matter’ is reminiscent of the inner mass deficit of galaxies with slowly rising rotation curves, but cannot be explained away by star formation-induced ‘cores’ in the dark mass profile, since the anomalous deficit applies to regions larger than the luminous galaxies themselves. We argue that explaining the structure of these galaxies would require either substantial modification of the standard ΛCDM paradigm or else significant revision to the uncertainties in their inferred mass profiles, which should be much larger than reported. Systematic errors in inclination may provide a simple resolution to what would otherwise be a rather intractable problem for the current paradigm.


Oman, K., Navarro, J., Sales, L., Fattahi, A., Frenk, C., Sawala, T., …White, S. (2016). Missing dark matter in dwarf galaxies?. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 460(4), 3610-3623.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 23, 2016
Online Publication Date May 25, 2016
Publication Date Aug 21, 2016
Deposit Date Sep 28, 2016
Publicly Available Date Oct 6, 2016
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 460
Issue 4
Pages 3610-3623


Published Journal Article (2.2 Mb)

Copyright Statement
This article has been published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2016 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

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