The edge of galaxy formation III: The effects of warm dark matter on Milky Way satellites and field dwarfs

Andrea V. Macciò, Jonas Frings, Tobias Buck, Aaron A. Dutton, Marvin Blank, Aura Obreja, Keri L. Dixon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this third paper of the series, we investigate the effects of warm dark matter (WDM) with a particle mass of mWDM = 3 keV on the smallest galaxies in our Universe. We present a sample of 21 hydrodynamical cosmological simulations of dwarf galaxies and 20 simulations of satellite-host galaxy interaction that we performed both in a cold dark matter (CDM) and WDM scenario. In the WDM simulations, we observe a higher critical mass for the onset of star formation. Structure growth is delayed in WDM, as a result WDM haloes have a stellar population on average 2 Gyr younger than their CDM counterparts. Nevertheless, despite this delayed star formation, CDM and WDM galaxies are both able to reproduce the observed scaling relations for velocity dispersion, stellar mass, size, and metallicity at z = 0. WDM satellite haloes in a Milky Way mass host are more susceptible to tidal stripping due to their lower concentrations, but their galaxies can even survive longer than the CDM counterparts if they live in a dark matter halo with a stee per central slope. In agreement with our previous CDM satellite study we observe a steepening of the WDM satellites' central dark matter density slope due to stripping. The difference in the average stellar age for satellite galaxies, between CDM and WDM, could be used in the future for disentangling these two models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5400-5408
Number of pages9
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 21 2019


  • 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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