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Bent by baryons: the low-mass galaxy-halo relation

Sawala, T.; Frenk, C.S.; Fattahi, A.; Navarro, J.F.; Bower, R.G.; Crain, R.A.; Dalla Vecchia, C.; Furlong, M.; Jenkins, A.; McCarthy, I.G.; Qu, Y.; Schaller, M.; Schaye, J.; Theuns, T.

Bent by baryons: the low-mass galaxy-halo relation Thumbnail


T. Sawala

A. Fattahi

J.F. Navarro

R.G. Bower

R.A. Crain

C. Dalla Vecchia

M. Furlong

I.G. McCarthy

Y. Qu

M. Schaller

J. Schaye


The relation between galaxies and dark matter haloes is of vital importance for evaluating theoretical predictions of structure formation and galaxy formation physics. We use hydrodynamic cosmological simulations of the Local Group to show that the widely used method of abundance matching based on dark matter only simulations fails at the low-mass end because two of its underlying assumptions are broken: only a small fraction of low-mass (<109.5 M⊙) haloes host a visible galaxy, and baryon effects lower their growth rate. In this regime, reliance on dark matter only simulations for abundance matching is inappropriate and can lead to incorrect results. We find that the reported discrepancy between observational estimates of the halo masses of dwarf galaxies and the values predicted by abundance matching does not point to a failure of Λ cold dark matter, but simply to a failure to account for baryonic effects. Our results also imply that the Local Group contains only a few hundred observable galaxies in contrast with the thousands of faint dwarfs that abundance matching would suggest. We show how relations derived from abundance matching can be corrected, so that they can be used self-consistently to calibrate models of galaxy formation.


Sawala, T., Frenk, C., Fattahi, A., Navarro, J., Bower, R., Crain, R., …Theuns, T. (2015). Bent by baryons: the low-mass galaxy-halo relation. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 448(3), 2941-2947.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Dec 29, 2014
Online Publication Date Mar 9, 2015
Publication Date Apr 11, 2015
Deposit Date Apr 7, 2015
Publicly Available Date Apr 22, 2015
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 448
Issue 3
Pages 2941-2947
Keywords Galaxies: abundances, Galaxies: dwarf, Galaxies: evolution, Galaxies: formation, Cosmology: theory.
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Published Journal Article (985 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. ©: 2015 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

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