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The Angular Momentum Distribution and Baryon Content of Star-forming Galaxies at z ~ 1-3

Burkert, A.; Förster Schreiber, N.M.; Genzel, R.; Lang, P.; Tacconi, L.J.; Wisnioski, E.; Wuyts, S.; Bandara, K.; Beifiori, A.; Bender, R.; Brammer, G.; Chan, J.; Davies, R.; Dekel, A.; Fabricius, M.; Fossati, M.; Kulkarni, S.; Lutz, D.; Mendel, J.T.; Momcheva, I.; Nelson, E.J.; Naab, T.; Renzini, A.; Saglia, R.; Sharples, R.M.; Sternberg, A.; Wilman, D.; Wuyts, E.

The Angular Momentum Distribution and Baryon Content of Star-forming Galaxies at z ~ 1-3 Thumbnail


A. Burkert

N.M. Förster Schreiber

R. Genzel

P. Lang

L.J. Tacconi

E. Wisnioski

S. Wuyts

K. Bandara

A. Beifiori

R. Bender

G. Brammer

J. Chan

R. Davies

A. Dekel

M. Fabricius

M. Fossati

S. Kulkarni

D. Lutz

J.T. Mendel

I. Momcheva

E.J. Nelson

T. Naab

A. Renzini

R. Saglia

A. Sternberg

D. Wilman

E. Wuyts


We analyze the angular momenta of massive star-forming galaxies (SFGs) at the peak of the cosmic star formation epoch (z ~ 0.8–2.6). Our sample of ~360 log(M */M ⊙) ~ 9.3–11.8 SFGs is mainly based on the KMOS3D and SINS/zC-SINF surveys of Hα kinematics, and collectively provides a representative subset of the massive star-forming population. The inferred halo scale angular momentum distribution is broadly consistent with that theoretically predicted for their dark matter halos, in terms of mean spin parameter $\langle \lambda \rangle $ ~ 0.037 and its dispersion (σ logλ ~ 0.2). Spin parameters correlate with the disk radial scale and with their stellar surface density, but do not depend significantly on halo mass, stellar mass, or redshift. Our data thus support the long-standing assumption that on average, even at high redshifts, the specific angular momentum of disk galaxies reflects that of their dark matter halos (j d = j DM). The lack of correlation between λ × (j d /j DM) and the nuclear stellar density Σ*(1 kpc) favors a scenario where disk-internal angular momentum redistribution leads to "compaction" inside massive high-redshift disks. For our sample, the inferred average stellar to dark matter mass ratio is ~2%, consistent with abundance matching results. Including the molecular gas, the total baryonic disk to dark matter mass ratio is ~5% for halos near 1012 M ⊙, which corresponds to 31% of the cosmologically available baryons, implying that high-redshift disks are strongly baryon dominated.


Burkert, A., Förster Schreiber, N., Genzel, R., Lang, P., Tacconi, L., Wisnioski, E., …Wuyts, E. (2016). The Angular Momentum Distribution and Baryon Content of Star-forming Galaxies at z ~ 1-3. Astrophysical Journal, 826(2), Article 214.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 15, 2016
Online Publication Date Aug 1, 2016
Publication Date Aug 1, 2016
Deposit Date Oct 5, 2016
Publicly Available Date Nov 3, 2016
Journal Astrophysical Journal
Print ISSN 0004-637X
Electronic ISSN 1538-4357
Publisher American Astronomical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 826
Issue 2
Article Number 214
Related Public URLs


Accepted Journal Article (2.2 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2016. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

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