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The Structure of Cold Dark Matter Halos
Navarro, Julio F.; Frenk, Carlos S.; White, Simon D. M.
Astrophysical Journal v.462, p.563 (ApJ Homepage)
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We use N-body simulations to investigate the structure of dark halos in the standard cold dark matter cosmogony. Halos are excised from simulations of cosmologically representative regions and are resimulated individually at high resolution. We study objects with masses ranging from those of dwarf galaxy halos to those of rich galaxy clusters. The spherically averaged density profiles of all our halos can be fitted over two decades in radius by scaling a simple "universal" profile. The characteristic over- density of a halo, or equivalently its concentration, correlates strongly with halo mass in a way that reflects the mass dependence of the epoch of halo formation. Halo profiles are approximately isothermal over a large range in radii but are significantly shallower than r -2 near the center and steeper than r-2 near the virial radius. Matching the observed rotation curves of disk galaxies requires disk mass-to-light ratios to increase systematically with luminosity. Further, it suggests that the halos of bright galaxies depend only weakly on galaxy luminosity and have circular velocities significantly lower than the disk rotation speed. This may explain why luminosity and dynamics are uncorrelated in observed samples of binary galaxies and of satellite/spiral systems. For galaxy clusters, our halo models are consistent both with the presence of giant arcs and with the observed structure of the intracluster medium, and they suggest a simple explanation for the disparate estimates of cluster core radii found by previous authors. Our results also highlight two shortcomings of the CDM model. CDM halos are too concentrated to be consistent with the halo parameters inferred for dwarf irregulars, and the predicted abundance of galaxy halos is larger than the observed abundance of galaxies. The first problem may imply that the core structure of dwarf galaxies was altered by the galaxy formation process, and the second problem may imply that galaxies failed to form (or remain undetected) in many dark halos.

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