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The mass of the Milky Way from satellite dynamics.

Callingham, Thomas M. and Cautun, Marius and Deason, Alis J. and Frenk, Carlos S. and Wang, Wenting and Gómez, Facundo A. and Grand, Robert J. J. and Marinacci, Federico and Pakmor, Ruediger (2019) 'The mass of the Milky Way from satellite dynamics.', Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society., 484 (4). pp. 5453-5467.


We present and apply a method to infer the mass of the Milky Way (MW) by comparing the dynamics of MW satellites to those of model satellites in the EAGLE cosmological hydrodynamics simulations. A distribution function (DF) for galactic satellites is constructed from EAGLE using specific angular momentum and specific energy, which are scaled so as to be independent of host halo mass. In this 2-dimensional space, the orbital properties of satellite galaxies vary according to the host halo mass. The halo mass can be inferred by calculating the likelihood that the observed satellite population is drawn from this DF. Our method is robustly calibrated on mock EAGLE systems. We validate it by applying it to the completely independent suite of 30 AURIGA high-resolution simulations of MW-like galaxies: the method accurately recovers their true mass and associated uncertainties. We then apply it to ten classical satellites of the MW with 6D phasespace measurements, including updated proper motions from the Gaia satellite. The mass of the MW is estimated to be MMW 200 = 1.17+0.21 −0.15 × 1012M (68% confidence limits). We combine our total mass estimate with recent mass estimates in the inner regions of the Galaxy to infer an inner dark matter (DM) mass fraction MDM(< 20 kpc)/MDM 200 = 0.12 which is typical of ∼1012M ΛCDM haloes in hydrodynamical galaxy formation simulations. Assuming an NFW profile, this is equivalent to a halo concentration of c MW 200 = 10.9 +2.6 −2.0.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© 2019 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Date accepted:04 February 2019
Date deposited:06 February 2019
Date of first online publication:05 February 2019
Date first made open access:19 February 2019

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