The SAMI Galaxy Survey: The link between angular momentum and optical morphology

L. Cortese, Lisa M R Fogarty, K. Bekki, J. Van De Sande, Warrick J. Couch, B. Catinella, M. Colless, D. Obreschkow, D. Taranu, E. Tescari, D. Barat, J. Bland-Hawthorn, Jason E. Bloom, J. J. Bryant, M. Cluver, S. M. Croom, Michael J. Drinkwater, F. D'Eugenio, Iraklis S. Konstantopoulos, A. R. Lopez-SanchezS. Mahajan, N. Scott, Chiara Tonini, O. I. Wong, J. T. Allen, S. Brough, M. Goodwin, A. W. Green, I. Ting Ho, L. S. Kelvin, J. S. Lawrence, Nuria P F Lorente, Anne M. Medling, Matt S. Owers, S. Richards, R. Sharp, Sarah M. Sweet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate the relationship between stellar and gas specific angular momentum j, stellar massM* and optical morphology for a sample of 488 galaxies extracted from the Sydney-AAO Multi-object Integral field Galaxy Survey.We find that j, measured within one effective radius, monotonically increases with M* and that, for M* > 109.5 M, the scatter in this relation strongly correlates with optical morphology (i.e. visual classification and Sérsic index). These findings confirm that massive galaxies of all types lie on a plane relating mass, angular momentum and stellar-light distribution, and suggest that the large-scale morphology of a galaxy is regulated by its mass and dynamical state. We show that the significant scatter in the M*-j relation is accounted for by the fact that, at fixed stellar mass, the contribution of ordered motions to the dynamical support of galaxies varies by at least a factor of 3. Indeed, the stellar spin parameter (quantified via λR) correlates strongly with Sérsic and concentration indices. This correlation is particularly strong once slow rotators are removed from the sample, showing that late-type galaxies and early-type fast rotators form a continuous class of objects in terms of their kinematic properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-184
Number of pages15
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Early online date8 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2016


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