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The stellar orbit distribution in present-day galaxies inferred from the CALIFA survey

AuthorsZhu, Ling; van de Ven, Glenn; van den Bosch, Remco; Rix, Hans-Walter; Lyubenova, Mariya; Falcón-Barroso, Jesús; Martig, Marie; Mao, Shude; Xu, Dandan; Jin, Yunpeng; Obreja, Aura; Grand, Robert J. J.; Dutton, Aaron A.; Macciò, Andrea V.; Gómez, Facundo A.; Walcher, Jakob C.; García-Benito, Rubén ; Zibetti, Stefano; Sánchez, Sebastian F.
Issue Date2018
PublisherNature Publishing Group
CitationNature Astronomy 2(3): 233-238 (2018)
AbstractGalaxy formation entails the hierarchical assembly of mass, along with the condensation of baryons and the ensuing, self-regulating star formation . The stars form a collisionless system whose orbit distribution retains dynamical memory that can constrain a galaxy's formation history . The orbits dominated by ordered rotation, with near-maximum circularity λ ≈ 1, are called kinematically cold, and the orbits dominated by random motion, with low circularity λ ≈ 0, are kinematically hot. The fraction of stars on 'cold' orbits, compared with the fraction on 'hot' orbits, speaks directly to the quiescence or violence of the galaxies' formation histories . Here we present such orbit distributions, derived from stellar kinematic maps through orbit-based modelling for a well-defined, large sample of 300 nearby galaxies. The sample, drawn from the CALIFA survey , includes the main morphological galaxy types and spans a total stellar mass range from 10 to 10 solar masses. Our analysis derives the orbit-circularity distribution as a function of galaxy mass and its volume-averaged total distribution. We find that across most of the considered mass range and across morphological types, there are more stars on 'warm' orbits defined as 0.25 ≤ λ ≤ 0.8 than on either 'cold' or 'hot' orbits. This orbit-based 'Hubble diagram' provides a benchmark for galaxy formation simulations in a cosmological context.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41550-017-0348-1
Identifiersdoi: 10.1038/s41550-017-0348-1
issn: 2397-3366
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