xGASS: characterizing the slope and scatter of the stellar mass - angular momentum relation for nearby galaxies

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We present a detailed study of the stellar mass vs. specific angular momentum (AM) relation (Fall relation) for a representative sample of 564 nearby galaxies in the eXtended GALEX Arecibo SDSS Survey (xGASS). We focus on the dependence of the Fall relation's slope on galaxy type and the galaxy properties regulating its scatter. Stellar specific AM is determined by combining single-dish H{\sc i} velocity widths and stellar mass profiles for all H{\sc i} detections in the xGASS sample. At fixed morphology (or bulge-to-total ratio), we find that the power law slope of the Fall relation is consistent with 2/3. However, when all galaxy types are combined, we recover a much shallower slope of $\sim$0.47. We show that this is a consequence of the change in galaxy morphology as a function of mass, highlighting that caution should be taken when using the slope of the Fall relation to constrain galaxy formation models without taking sample selection into account. We quantify the Fall relations scatter and show that H{\sc i} gas fraction is the strongest correlated parameter for low stellar masses (Spearman correlation: $\rho_{s} = 0.61$), while the bulge-to-total ratio becomes slightly more dominant at higher masses ($\rho_{s} = -0.29$). Intriguingly, when only the disc components of galaxies are considered, H{\sc i} gas fraction remains the strongest correlated parameter with the scatter of the relation (regardless of disc stellar mass). Our work provides one of the best characterisations of the Fall relation for a representative sample of galaxies in the local Universe.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3751-3763
Number of pages13
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2022


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