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On the prospect of using the maximum circular velocity of halos to encapsulate assembly bias in the galaxy–halo connection.

Zehavi, Idit and Kerby, Stephen E. and Contreras, Sergio and Jiménez, Esteban and Padilla, Nelson and Baugh, Carlton M. (2019) 'On the prospect of using the maximum circular velocity of halos to encapsulate assembly bias in the galaxy–halo connection.', The astrophysical journal., 887 (1). p. 17.


We investigate a conceptual modification of the halo occupation distribution approach, using the halos’ present-day maximal circular velocity, Vmax, as an alternative to halo mass. In particular, using a semianalytic galaxy formation model applied to the Millennium WMAP7 simulation, we explore the extent that switching to Vmax as the primary halo property incorporates the effects of assembly bias into the formalism. We consider fixed number density galaxy samples ranked by stellar mass and examine the variations in the halo occupation functions with either halo concentration or formation time. We find that using Vmax results in a significant reduction in the occupancy variation of the central galaxies, particularly for concentration. The satellites’ occupancy variation on the other hand increases in all cases. We find effectively no change in the halo clustering dependence on concentration, for fixed bins of Vmax compared to fixed halo mass. Most crucially, we calculate the impact of assembly bias on galaxy clustering by comparing the amplitude of clustering to that of a shuffled galaxy sample, finding that the level of galaxy assembly bias remains largely unchanged. Our results suggest that while using Vmax as a proxy for halo mass diminishes some of the occupancy variations exhibited in the galaxy–halo relation, it is not able to encapsulate the effects of assembly bias potentially present in galaxy clustering. The use of other more complex halo properties, such as Vpeak, the peak value of Vmax over the assembly history, provides some improvement and warrants further investigation.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© 2019. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Date accepted:11 October 2019
Date deposited:15 January 2020
Date of first online publication:05 December 2019
Date first made open access:15 January 2020

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