Evidence for early filamentary accretion from the Andromeda galaxy's thin plane of satellites

Tobias Buck, Andrea V. Macciò, Aaron A. Dutton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recently it has been shown that a large fraction of the dwarf satellite galaxies orbiting the Andromeda galaxy are surprisingly aligned in a thin, extended, and kinematically coherent planar structure. The presence of such a structure seems to challenge the current Cold Dark Matter paradigm of structure formation, which predicts a more uniform distribution of satellites around central objects. We show that it is possible to obtain a thin, extended, rotating plane of satellites resembling the one in Andromeda in cosmological collisionless simulations based on the Cold Dark Matter model. Our new high-resolution simulations show a correlation between the formation time of the dark matter halo and the thickness of the plane of satellites. Our simulations have a high incidence of satellite planes as thin, extended, and as rich as the one in Andromeda and with a very coherent kinematic structure when we select high concentration/early forming halos. By tracking the formation of the satellites in the plane we show that they have mainly been accreted onto the main object along thin dark matter filaments at high redshift. Our results show that the presence of a thin, extended, rotating plane of satellites is not a challenge for the Cold Dark Matter paradigm, but actually supports one of the predictions of this paradigm related to the presence of filaments of dark matter around galaxies at high redshift.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number49
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 10 2015


  • dark matter
  • galaxies: dwarf
  • galaxies: formation
  • galaxies: individual (M31 Andromeda)
  • galaxies: kinematics and dynamics
  • methods: numerical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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