NIHAO XXIV: rotation- or pressure-supported systems? Simulated Ultra Diffuse Galaxies show a broad distribution in their stellar kinematics

Salvador Cardona-Barrero, Arianna Di Cintio, Christopher B.A. Brook, Tomas Ruiz-Lara, Michael A. Beasley, Jesus Falcón-Barroso, Andrea V. Macciò

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years, a new window on galaxy evolution opened, thanks to the increasing discovery of galaxies with a low-surface brightness, such as Ultra Diffuse Galaxies (UDGs). The formation mechanism of these systems is still a much debated question and so are their kinematical properties. In this work, we address this topic by analysing the stellar kinematics of isolated UDGs formed in the hydrodynamical simulation suite Numerical Investigation of a Hundred Astrophysical Objects (NIHAO). We construct projected line-of-sight velocity and velocity dispersion maps to compute the projected specific angular momentum, λR, to characterize the kinematical support of the stars in these galaxies. We found that UDGs cover a broad distribution, ranging from dispersion to rotation-supported galaxies, with similar abundances in both regimes. The degree of rotation support of simulated UDGs correlates with several properties such as galaxy morphology, higher H i fractions, and larger effective radii with respect to the dispersion-supported group, while the dark matter halo spin and mass accretion history are similar among the two populations. We demonstrate that the alignment of the infalling baryons into the protogalaxy at early z is the principal driver of the z = 0 stellar kinematic state: pressure-supported isolated UDGs form via misaligned gas accretion while rotation-supported ones build up their baryons in an ordered manner. Accounting for random inclination effects, we predict that a comprehensive survey will find nearly half of field UDGs to have rotationally supported stellar discs, when selecting UDGs with effective radius larger than 1 kpc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4282-4292
Number of pages11
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • galaxies: dwarf
  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: formation
  • galaxies: kinematics and dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'NIHAO XXIV: rotation- or pressure-supported systems? Simulated Ultra Diffuse Galaxies show a broad distribution in their stellar kinematics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this