The SLUGGS survey: dark matter fractions at large radii and assembly epochs of early-type galaxies from globular cluster kinematics

Adebusola B. Alabi, Duncan A. Forbes, Aaron J. Romanowsky, Jean P. Brodie, Jay Strader, Joachim Janz, Christopher Usher, Lee R. Spitler, Sabine Bellstedt, Anna Ferré-Mateu

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We use globular cluster kinematics data, primarily from the SAGES Legacy Unifying Globulars and GalaxieS (〈ρDM〉) survey, to measure the dark matter fraction (fDM) and the average dark matter density () within the inner 5 effective radii (Re) for 32 nearby early-type galaxies (ETGs) with stellar mass log (M*/M) ranging from 10.1 to 11.8. We compare our results with a simple galaxy model based on scaling relations as well as with cosmological hydrodynamical simulations where the dark matter profile has been modified through various physical processes. We find a high fDM (≥0.6) within 5 Re in most of our sample, which we interpret as a signature of a late mass assembly history that is largely devoid of gas-rich major mergers. However, around log (M*/M) similar to 11, there is a wide range of fDM which may be challenging to explain with any single cosmological model. We find tentative evidence that lenticulars (S0s), unlike ellipticals, have mass distributions that are similar to spiral galaxies, with decreasing fDM within 5 Re as galaxy luminosity increases. However, we do not find any difference between the 〈ρDM〉 of S0s and ellipticals in our sample, despite the differences in their stellar populations. We have also used 〈ρDM〉 to infer the epoch of halo assembly (z ~ 2-4). By comparing the age of their central stars with the inferred epoch of halo formation, we are able to gain more insight into their mass assembly histories. Our results suggest a fundamental difference in the dominant late-phase mass assembly channel between lenticulars and elliptical galaxies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3949-3964
Number of pages16
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2017 The Authors. First published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 468, issue 4, pp.3949–3964. The original publication is available at, published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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