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A Break in Spiral Galaxy Scaling Relations at the Upper Limit of Galaxy Mass

Ogle, Patrick M. and Jarrett, Thomas and Lanz, Lauranne and Cluver, Michelle and Alatalo, Katherine and Appleton, Philip N. and Mazzarella, Joseph M. (2019) A Break in Spiral Galaxy Scaling Relations at the Upper Limit of Galaxy Mass. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 884 (1). Art. No. L11. ISSN 2041-8213. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/ab459e.

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Super spirals are the most massive star-forming disk galaxies in the universe. We measured rotation curves for 23 massive spirals with the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) and found a wide range of fast rotation speeds (240–570 km s^(−1)), indicating enclosed dynamical masses of (0.6−4) × 10^(12) M⊙. Super spirals with mass in stars log M_(stars)/M⊙ > 11.5 break from the baryonic Tully–Fisher relation (BTFR) established for lower-mass galaxies. The BTFR power-law index breaks from 3.75 ± 0.11 to 0.25 ± 0.41 above a rotation speed of ~340 km s^(−1). Super spirals also have very high specific angular momenta that break from the Fall relation. These results indicate that super spirals are undermassive for their dark matter halos, limited to a mass in stars of log M_(stars)/M⊙ < 11.8. Most giant elliptical galaxies also obey this fundamental limit, which corresponds to a critical dark halo mass of log M_(halo)/M⊙ ≃ 12.7. Once a halo reaches this mass, its gas can no longer cool and collapse in a dynamical time. Super spirals survive today in halos as massive as log M_(halo)/M⊙ ≃ 13.6, continuing to form stars from the cold baryons they captured before their halos reached critical mass. The observed high-mass break in the BTFR is inconsistent with the Modified Newtonian Dynamics theory.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Ogle, Patrick M.0000-0002-3471-981X
Jarrett, Thomas0000-0002-4939-734X
Lanz, Lauranne0000-0002-3249-8224
Cluver, Michelle0000-0002-9871-6490
Alatalo, Katherine0000-0002-4261-2326
Appleton, Philip N.0000-0002-7607-8766
Mazzarella, Joseph M.0000-0002-8204-8619
Additional Information:© 2019 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2019 July 3; revised 2019 September 17; accepted 2019 September 18; published 2019 October 7. We thank S. Michael Fall for insightful discussions about the angular momentum of galaxies and galaxy halos. The spectroscopic observations reported in this paper were obtained with the Southern African Large Telescope (SALT) and the Hale Telescope at Palomar Observatory. This work relied on the NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database and the NASA/ IPAC Infrared Science Archive, which are both operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. In particular, this publication makes use of data products from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, which is a joint project of the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:Spiral galaxies; Galaxy rotation curves; Dark matter; Galaxy evolution
Issue or Number:1
Classification Code:Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: Spiral galaxies (1560); Galaxy rotation curves (619); Dark matter (353); Galaxy evolution (594)
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20191022-150027198
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Patrick M. Ogle et al 2019 ApJL 884 L11
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:99396
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:22 Oct 2019 22:09
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:46

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