Cusp-core transformations in dwarf galaxies: Observational predictions

Romain Teyssier, Andrew Pontzen, Yohan Dubois, Justin I. Read

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

343 Scopus citations


The presence of a dark matter core in the central kiloparsec of many dwarf galaxies has been a long-standing problem in galaxy formation theories based on the standard cold dark matter paradigm. Recent simulations, based on smooth particle hydrodynamics and rather strong feedback recipes, have shown that it was indeed possible to form extended dark matter cores using baryonic processes related to a more realistic treatment of the interstellar medium. Using adaptive mesh refinement, together with a new, stronger supernova feedback scheme that we have recently implemented in the RAMSES code, we show that it is also possible to form a prominent dark matter core within the well-controlled framework of an isolated, initially cuspy, 1010M dark matter halo. Although our numerical experiment is idealized, it allows a clean and unambiguous identification of the dark matter core formation process. Our dark matter inner profile is well fitted by a pseudo-isothermal profile with a core radius of 800 pc. The core formation mechanism is consistent with the one proposed by Pontzen & Governato. We highlight two key observational predictions of all simulations that find cuspcore transformations: (i) a bursty star formation history with a peak-to-trough ratio of 5 to 10 and a duty cycle comparable to the local dynamical time and (ii) a stellar distribution that is hot with v/σ ~ 1. We compare the observational properties of our model galaxy with recent measurements of the isolated dwarfWolf-Lundmark-Mellote (WLM).We show that the spatial and kinematical distribution of stars and HI gas are in striking agreement with observations, supporting the fundamental role played by stellar feedback in shaping both the stellar and dark matter distribution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3068-3078
Number of pages11
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Mar 11 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Dark matter
  • Galaxies: dwarf
  • ISM: structure
  • Methods: numerical


Dive into the research topics of 'Cusp-core transformations in dwarf galaxies: Observational predictions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this