The response of dark matter haloes to elliptical galaxy formation: A new test for quenching scenarios

Aaron A. Dutton, Andrea V. Macciò, Gregory S. Stinson, Thales A. Gutcke, Camilla Penzo, Tobias Buck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We use cosmological hydrodynamical zoom-in simulations with the smoothed particle hydrodynamics code GASOLINE of four haloes of mass M200 ~ 1013M to study the response of the dark matter to elliptical galaxy formation. Our simulations include metallicity-dependent gas cooling, star formation and feedback from massive stars and supernovae, but not active galactic nuclei (AGN). At z = 2 the progenitor galaxies have stellar-to-halo mass ratios consistent with halo abundance matching, assuming a Salpeter initial mass function. However, by z = 0 the standard runs suffer from the well-known overcooling problem, overpredicting the stellar masses by a factor of ≳ 4. To mimic a suppressive halo quenching scenario, in our forced quenching (FQ) simulations, cooling and star formation are switched offat z = 2. The resulting z = 0 galaxies have stellar masses, sizes and circular velocities close to what is observed. Relative to the control simulations, the dark matter haloes in the FQ simulations have contracted, with central dark matter density slopes d log ρ/d log r ~ -1.5, showing that dry merging alone is unable to fully reverse the contraction that occurs at z > 2. Simulations in the literature with AGN feedback, however, have found expansion or no net change in the dark matter halo. Thus, the response of the dark matter halo to galaxy formation may provide a new test to distinguish between ejective and suppressive quenching mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2447-2464
Number of pages18
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015


  • CD-galaxies: evolution
  • Cosmology: theory
  • Dark matter
  • Galaxies: elliptical and lenticular
  • Galaxies: formation
  • Methods: numerical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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