Mass modelling of dwarf spheroidal galaxies: the effect of unbound stars from tidal tails and the Milky Way

Abstract

We study the origin and properties of the population of unbound stars in the kinematic samples of dwarf spheroidal galaxies. For this purpose we have run a high resolution N body simulation of a two-component dwarf galaxy orbiting in a Milky Way potential. In agreement with the tidal stirring scenario of Mayer et al., the dwarf is placed on a highly eccentric orbit, its initial stellar component is in the form of an exponential disk and it has a NFW-like dark matter halo. After 10 Gyrs of evolution the dwarf produces a spheroidal stellar component and is strongly tidally stripped so that mass follows light and the stars are on almost isotropic orbits. From this final state, we create mock kinematic data sets for 200 stars by observing the dwarf in different directions. We find that when the dwarf is observed along the tidal tails the kinematic samples are strongly contaminated by unbound stars from the tails. We also study another source of possible contamination by adding stars from the Milky Way. We demonstrate that most of the unbound stars can be removed by the method of interloper rejection proposed by den Hartog & Katgert and recently tested on simulated dark matter haloes. We model the cleaned-up kinematic samples using solutions of the Jeans equation with constant mass-to-light ratio and velocity anisotropy parameter. We show that even for such a strongly stripped dwarf the Jeans analysis, when applied to cleaned samples, allows us to reproduce the mass and mass-to-light ratio of the dwarf with accuracy typically better than 25 percent and almost exactly in the case when the line of sight is perpendicular to the tidal tails. The analysis was applied to the new data for the Fornax dSph galaxy. We show that after careful removal of interlopers the velocity dispersion profile of Fornax can be reproduced by a model in which mass traces light with a mass-to-light ratio of 11 solar units and isotropic orbits. We demonstrate that most of the contamination in the kinematic sample of Fornax probably originates from the Milky Way.

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Lokas2007MassMO, title={Mass modelling of dwarf spheroidal galaxies: the effect of unbound stars from tidal tails and the Milky Way}, author={Ewa L. Lokas and Stelios Kazantzidis and Francisco Prada and Lucio Mayer and Gary A . Mamon}, year={2007} }