Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Universality of galactic surface densities within one dark halo scale-length

Abstract

It was recently discovered that the mean dark matter surface density within one dark halo scale-length (the radius within which the volume density profile of dark matter remains approximately flat) is constant across a wide range of galaxies1. This scaling relation holds for galaxies spanning a luminosity range of 14 magnitudes and the whole Hubble sequence1,2,3. Here we report that the luminous matter surface density is also constant within one scale-length of the dark halo. This means that the gravitational acceleration generated by the luminous component in galaxies is always the same at this radius. Although the total luminous-to-dark matter ratio is not constant, within one halo scale-length it is constant. Our finding can be interpreted as a close correlation between the enclosed surface densities of luminous and dark matter in galaxies4.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

Figure 1: Universality of the average surface density (and gravity) of baryons within the halo core radius.

References

  1. 1

    Donato, F. et al. A constant dark matter halo surface density in galaxies. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 397, 1169–1176 (2009)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Kormendy, J. & Freeman, K. C. Scaling laws for dark matter halos in late-type and dwarf spheroidal galaxies. IAU Symp. Astron. Soc. Pacif. 220, 377–395 (2004)

    ADS  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Spano, M. et al. GHASP: an Hα kinematic survey of spiral and irregular galaxies—V. Dark matter distribution in 36 nearby spiral galaxies. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 383, 297–316 (2008)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  4. 4

    McGaugh, S. S. The mass discrepancy-acceleration relation: disk mass and the dark matter distribution. Astrophys. J. 609, 652–666 (2004)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Burkert, A. The structure of dark matter halos in dwarf galaxies. Astrophys. J. 447, L25–L28 (1995)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    McGaugh, S. S. Balance of dark and luminous mass in rotating galaxies. Phys. Rev. Lett. 95, 171302 (2005)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Milgrom, M. A modification of the Newtonian dynamics as a possible alternative to the hidden mass hypothesis. Astrophys. J. 270, 365–370 (1983)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Famaey, B., Gentile, G., Bruneton, J.-P. & Zhao, H. S. Insight into the baryon-gravity relation in galaxies. Phys. Rev. D 75, 063002 (2007)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Persic, M., Salucci, P. & Stel, F. The universal rotation curve of spiral galaxies—I. The dark matter connection. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 281, 27–47 (1996)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Gentile, G. MOND and the universal rotation curve: similar phenomenologies. Astrophys. J. 684, 1018–1025 (2008)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Yegorova, I. A. & Salucci, P. The radial Tully-Fisher relation for spiral galaxies—I. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 377, 507–515 (2007)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Zwaan, M. A. et al. The Tully-Fisher relation for low surface brightness galaxies: implications for galaxy evolution. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 273, L35–L38 (1995)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    Milgrom, M. & Sanders, R. H. MOND predictions of halo phenomenology in disc galaxies. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 357, 45–48 (2005)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    Gentile, G., Salucci, P., Klein, U. & Granato, G. L. NGC 3741: the dark halo profile from the most extended rotation curve. Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc. 375, 199–212 (2007)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. 15

    Gentile, G., Burkert, A., Salucci, P., Klein, U. & Walter, F. The dwarf galaxy DDO 47 as a dark matter laboratory: testing cusps hiding in triaxial halos. Astrophys. J. 634, L145–L148 (2005)

    ADS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16

    de Blok, W. J. G. et al. High-resolution rotation curves and galaxy mass models from THINGS. Astron. J. 136, 2648–2719 (2008)

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

G.G. was supported by the FWO-Vlaanderen (Belgium), and B.F. was supported in part by the Alexander von Humboldt foundation (Germany), the FNRS (Belgium), and the CNRS (France). We thank A. Jorissen and L. Hill for their comments on the manuscript.

Author Contributions G.G. and B.F. contributed to analysing and interpreting the data, making the figures, and writing the paper. HS.Z. and P.S. contributed to interpreting the data.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Gianfranco Gentile.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Information

This file contains Supplementary Notes and Data, Supplementary References, Supplementary Table 1and Supplementary Figures 1-3 with References. (PDF 198 kb)

PowerPoint slides

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Gentile, G., Famaey, B., Zhao, H. et al. Universality of galactic surface densities within one dark halo scale-length. Nature 461, 627–628 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature08437

Download citation

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing