Friday, July 26, 2013

1307.6555 (Louis E. Abramson et al.)

The Circular Velocity Function of Group Galaxies    [PDF]

Louis E. Abramson, Rik J. Williams, Andrew J. Benson, Juna A. Kollmeier, John S. Mulchaey
A robust prediction of LCDM cosmology is the halo circular velocity function (CVF), a dynamical cousin of the halo mass function. However, the correspondence between theoretical and observed CVFs is uncertain: cluster galaxies are reported to exhibit a power-law CVF consistent with N-body simulations, but that of the field is distinctly Schechter-like, flattened relative to LCDM expectations at circular velocities v_c < 200 km/s. Groups offer a powerful probe of the role of environment in this discrepancy as they bridge the field and clusters. Here, we construct the CVF for a large, mass- and multiplicity-complete sample of group galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Using independent photometric v_c estimators, we find no transition from field- to LCDM-shaped CVF above v_c = 50 km/s as a function of group halo mass. All groups with 12.4 < log(M_halo/M_sun) < 15.1 (Local Group analogs to rich clusters) display similar Schechter-like CVFs that are marginally suppressed at low-v_c compared to that of the field. Conversely, moderate agreement with N-body results emerges for samples saturated with late-type galaxies. Indeed, isolated late-types have a CVF remarkably similar to LCDM predictions. We conclude that the flattening of the low-v_c slope in groups is due to their depressed late-type fractions and that environment affects the CVF only to the extent that it correlates with this quantity. Previous cluster analyses may thus suffer from significant interloper contamination. These results represent an important benchmark for cosmological models of galaxy formation.
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