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Title: On physical scales of dark matter halos

It is common practice to describe formal size and mass scales of dark matter halos as spherical overdensities with respect to an evolving density threshold. Here, we critically investigate the evolutionary effects of several such commonly used definitions and compare them to the halo evolution within fixed physical scales as well as to the evolution of other intrinsic physical properties of dark matter halos. It is shown that, in general, the traditional way of characterizing sizes and masses of halos dramatically overpredicts the degree of evolution in the last 10 Gyr, especially for low-mass halos. This pseudo-evolution leads to the illusion of growth even though there are no major changes within fixed physical scales. Such formal size definitions also serve as proxies for the virialized region of a halo in the literature. In general, those spherical overdensity scales do not coincide with the virialized region. A physically more precise nomenclature would be to simply characterize them by their very definition instead of calling such formal size and mass definitions 'virial'. In general, we find a discrepancy between the evolution of the underlying physical structure of dark matter halos seen in cosmological structure formation simulations and pseudo-evolving formal virial quantities. Wemore » question the importance of the role of formal virial quantities currently ubiquitously used in descriptions, models, and relations that involve properties of dark matter structures. Concepts and relations based on pseudo-evolving formal virial quantities do not properly reflect the actual evolution of dark matter halos and lead to an inaccurate picture of the physical evolution of our universe.« less
Authors:
 [1]
  1. Kavli Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Peking University, Yi He Yuan Lu 5, Hai Dian Qu, 100871 Beijing (China)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22365085
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 792; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; DENSITY; EVOLUTION; GALAXIES; MASS; NONLUMINOUS MATTER; SIMULATION; SPHERICAL CONFIGURATION; UNIVERSE