Dynamical confirmation of sloan digital sky survey weak-lensing scaling laws

Timothy A. McKay, Erin Scott Sheldon, David Johnston, Eva K. Grebel, Francisco Prada, Hans Walter Rix, Neta A. Bahcall, J. Brinkmann, István Csabai, Masataka Fukugita, D. Q. Lamb, Donald G. York

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


Galaxy masses can. be estimated by a variety of methods, each applicable in different circumstances and each suffering from different systematic uncertainties. Confirmation of results obtained by one technique with analysis by another is particularly important. Recent Sloan Digital Sky Survey weak-lensing measurements of the projected mass correlation function reveal a linear relation between galaxy luminosities and the depth of their dark matter halos (measured on 260 h-1 kpc scales). In this work we use an entirely independent dynamical method to confirm these results. We begin by assembling a sample of 618 relatively isolated host galaxies, surrounded by a total of 1225 substantially fainter satellites. We observe the mean dynamical effect of these hosts on the motions of their satellites by assembling velocity difference histograms. Dividing the sample by host properties, we find significant variations in satellite velocity dispersion with host luminosity. We quantify these variations using a simple dynamical model, measuring a dynamical mass M260dyn within 260 h-1 kpc. The appropriateness of this mass reconstruction is checked by conducting a similar analysis within an N-body simulation. Comparison between the dynamical and lensing mass-to-light scalings shows reasonable agreement, providing some quantitative confirmation for the lensing results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L85-L88
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 II
StatePublished - Jun 1 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Galaxies: fundamental parameters
  • Galaxies: halos
  • Galaxies: luminosity function, mass function
  • Galaxies: structure


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