The weak lensing radial acceleration relation: Constraining modified gravity and cold dark matter theories with KiDS-1000

Margot M. Brouwer*, Kyle A. Oman, Edwin A. Valentijn, Maciej Bilicki, Catherine Heymans, Henk Hoekstra, Nicola R. Napolitano, Nivya Roy, Crescenzo Tortora, Angus H. Wright, Marika Asgari, Jan Luca van den Busch, Andrej Dvornik, Thomas Erben, Benjamin Giblin, Alister W. Graham, Hendrik Hildebrandt, Andrew M. Hopkins, Arun Kannawadi, Konrad KuijkenJochen Liske, Huanyuan Shan, Tilman Tröster, Erik Verlinde, Manus Visser

*Corresponding author for this work

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We present measurements of the radial gravitational acceleration around isolated galaxies, comparing the expected gravitational acceleration given the baryonic matter (gbar) with the observed gravitational acceleration (gobs), using weak lensing measurements from the fourth data release of the Kilo-Degree Survey (KiDS-1000). These measurements extend the radial acceleration relation (RAR), traditionally measured using galaxy rotation curves, by 2 decades in gobs into the low-acceleration regime beyond the outskirts of the observable galaxy. We compare our RAR measurements to the predictions of two modified gravity (MG) theories: modified Newtonian dynamics and Verlinde's emergent gravity (EG). We find that the measured relation between gobs and gbar agrees well with the MG predictions. In addition, we find a difference of at least 6σ between the RARs of early- and late-type galaxies (split by Sérsic index and u - r colour) with the same stellar mass. Current MG theories involve a gravity modification that is independent of other galaxy properties, which would be unable to explain this behaviour, although the EG theory is still limited to spherically symmetric static mass models. The difference might be explained if only the early-type galaxies have significant (Mgas  ≈  M ) circumgalactic gaseous haloes. The observed behaviour is also expected in Λ-cold dark matter (ΛCDM) models where the galaxy-to-halo mass relation depends on the galaxy formation history. We find that MICE, a ΛCDM simulation with hybrid halo occupation distribution modelling and abundance matching, reproduces the observed RAR but significantly differs from BAHAMAS, a hydrodynamical cosmological galaxy formation simulation. Our results are sensitive to the amount of circumgalactic gas; current observational constraints indicate that the resulting corrections are likely moderate. Measurements of the lensing RAR with future cosmological surveys (such as Euclid) will be able to further distinguish between MG and ΛCDM models if systematic uncertainties in the baryonic mass distribution around galaxies are reduced.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA113
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

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  • Cosmology: theory
  • Dark matter
  • Galaxies: halos
  • Gravitational lensing: weak
  • Methods: statistical
  • Surveys


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