Galaxy 3D Shape Recovery using Mixture Density Network

Suk Yee Yong, K. E. Harborne, Caroline Foster, Robert Bassett, Gregory B. Poole, Mitchell Cavanagh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Since the turn of the century, astronomers have been exploiting the rich information afforded by combining stellar kinematic maps and imaging in an attempt to recover the intrinsic, three-dimensional (3D) shape of a galaxy. A common intrinsic shape recovery method relies on an expected monotonic relationship between the intrinsic misalignment of the kinematic and morphological axes and the triaxiality parameter. Recent studies have, however, cast doubt about underlying assumptions relating shape and intrinsic kinematic misalignment. In this work, we aim to recover the 3D shape of individual galaxies using their projected stellar kinematic and flux distributions using a supervised machine learning approach with mixture density network (MDN). Using a mock dataset of the EAGLE hydrodynamical cosmological simulation, we train the MDN model for a carefully selected set of common kinematic and photometric parameters. Compared to previous methods, we demonstrate potential improvements achieved with the MDN model to retrieve the 3D galaxy shape along with the uncertainties, especially for prolate and triaxial systems. We make specific recommendations for recovering galaxy intrinsic shapes relevant for current and future integral field spectroscopic galaxy surveys.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere033
Number of pages16
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of Australia
Volume41
Early online date18 Apr 2024
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2024

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