Abundance matching tested on small scales with galaxy dynamics

Andrea V. MacCiò, Stéphane Courteau, Nathalie N.Q. Ouellette, Aaron A. Dutton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a comprehensive test of the relation between stellar and total masses in galaxies as predicted by popular models based on abundance matching (AM) techniques. We use the 'Spectroscopy and H-band Imaging of Virgo cluster galaxies' (SHIVir) survey with photometric and dynamical profiles for 190 Virgo cluster galaxies to establish a relation between the stellar and dynamical masses measured within the isophotal radius r23.5. Various dark matter and galaxy scaling relations are combined with results from the NIHAO (Numerical Investigation of Hundred Astrophysical Objects) suite of hydrodynamical simulations to recast AM predictions in terms of these observed quantities. Our results are quite insensitive to the exact choice of dark matter profile and halo response to baryon collapse. We find that theoretical models reproduce the slope and normalization of the observed stellar-to-halo mass relation (SHMR) over more than three orders of magnitude in stellar mass (108 < M/M < 2 × 1011). However, the scatter of the observed SHMR exceeds that of AM predictions by a factor of ∼5. For systems with stellar masses exceeding 5 × 1010 M, AM overpredicts the observed stellar masses for a given dynamical mass. The latter offset may support previous indications of a different stellar initial mass function in these massive galaxies. Overall, our results support the validity of AM predictions on a wide dynamical range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L101-L105
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 22 2020


  • cosmology: theory
  • dark matter
  • galaxies: formation
  • galaxies: kinematics and dynamics
  • methods: numerical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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