Constraining the shape of dark matter haloes with globular clusters

Marta Reina-Campos, Sebastian Trujillo-Gomez, Joel L. Pfeffer, Alison Sills, Alis J. Deason, Robert A. Crain, J. M. Diederik Kruijssen

Research output: Working paperPreprint


We explore how diffuse stellar light and globular clusters (GCs) can be used to trace the matter distribution of their host halo using an observational methodology. For this, we use 117 simulated dark matter (DM) haloes from the $(34.4~\rm cMpc)^3$ periodic volume of the E-MOSAICS project. For each halo, we compare the stellar surface brightness and GC projected number density maps to the surface densities of DM and total mass. We find that the dominant structures identified in the stellar light and in the GCs correspond closely with those from the DM and total mass. Our method is unaffected by the presence of satellites and its precision improves with fainter GC samples. We recover tight relations between the profiles of stellar surface brightness and GC number density to those of the DM, suggesting that the profile of DM can be accurately recovered from the stars and GCs ($\sigma\leq0.5~$dex). We quantify the projected morphology of DM, stars and GCs, and find that the stars and GCs are more flattened than the DM. Additionally, the semi-major axes of the distribution of stars and GCs are typically misaligned by $\sim 10~$degrees from that of DM. We demonstrate that deep imaging of diffuse stellar light and GCs can place constraints on the shape, profile and orientation of their host halo. These results extend down to haloes with central galaxies $M_{\star}\geq10^{10}~M_{\odot}$, and the analysis will be applicable to future data from the Euclid, Roman and the Rubin observatories....
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2022


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