Stability of satellite planes in M31 II: Effects of the dark subhalo population

Nuwanthika Fernando, Veronica Arias, Geraint F. Lewis, Rodrigo A. Ibata, Chris Power

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The planar arrangement of nearly half the satellite galaxies of M31 has been a source of mystery and speculation since it was discovered.With a growing number of other host galaxies showing these satellite galaxy planes, their stability and longevity have become central to the debate on whether the presence of satellite planes are a natural consequence of prevailing cosmological models, or represent a challenge. Given the dependence of their stability on host halo shape, we look into how a galaxy plane's dark matter environment influences its longevity. An increased number of dark matter subhaloes results in increased interactions that hasten the deterioration of an already-formed plane of satellite galaxies in spherical dark haloes. The role of total dark matter mass fraction held in subhaloes in dispersing a plane of galaxies presents non-trivial effects on plane longevity as well. But any misalignment of plane inclines to major axes of flattened dark matter haloes lead to their lifetimes being reduced to ≤3Gyr. Distributing ≥40 per cent of total dark mass in subhaloes in the overall dark matter distribution results in a plane of satellite galaxies which is prone to change through the 5-Gyr integration time period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2212-2221
Number of pages10
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


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