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The APOSTLE project: Local Group kinematic mass constraints and simulation candidate selection

Fattahi, Azadeh; Navarro, Julio F.; Sawala, Till; Frenk, Carlos S.; Oman, Kyle A.; Crain, Robert A.; Furlong, Michelle; Schaller, Matthieu; Schaye, Joop; Theuns, Tom; Jenkins, Adrian

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Azadeh Fattahi

Julio F. Navarro

Till Sawala

Kyle A. Oman

Robert A. Crain

Michelle Furlong

Matthieu Schaller

Joop Schaye


We use a large sample of isolated dark matter halo pairs drawn from cosmological N-body simulations to identify candidate systems whose kinematics match that of the Local Group (LG) of galaxies. We find, in agreement with the ‘timing argument’ and earlier work, that the separation and approach velocity of the Milky Way (MW) and Andromeda (M31) galaxies favour a total mass for the pair of ∼5 × 1012 M⊙. A mass this large, however, is difficult to reconcile with the small relative tangential velocity of the pair, as well as with the small deceleration from the Hubble flow observed for the most distant LG members. Halo pairs that match these three criteria have average masses a factor of ∼2 times smaller than suggested by the timing argument, but with large dispersion. Guided by these results, we have selected 12 halo pairs with total mass in the range 1.6–3.6 × 1012 M⊙ for the APOSTLE project (A Project Of Simulating The Local Environment), a suite of hydrodynamical resimulations at various numerical resolution levels (reaching up to ∼104 M⊙ per gas particle) that use the subgrid physics developed for the EAGLE project. These simulations reproduce, by construction, the main kinematics of the MW–M31 pair, and produce satellite populations whose overall number, luminosities, and kinematics are in good agreement with observations of the MW and M31 companions. The APOSTLE candidate systems thus provide an excellent testbed to confront directly many of the predictions of the Λ cold dark matter cosmology with observations of our local Universe.


Fattahi, A., Navarro, J. F., Sawala, T., Frenk, C. S., Oman, K. A., Crain, R. A., …Jenkins, A. (2016). The APOSTLE project: Local Group kinematic mass constraints and simulation candidate selection. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 457(1), 844-856.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 18, 2015
Online Publication Date Jan 27, 2016
Publication Date Mar 21, 2016
Deposit Date Feb 19, 2016
Publicly Available Date Feb 23, 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 457
Issue 1
Pages 844-856
Keywords Methods: numerical, Galaxies: dwarf, Galaxies: haloes, Local Group, Dark matter.


Published Journal Article (2 Mb)

Copyright Statement
This article has been accepted for publication 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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