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Genzel, R.; Schreiber, N. M. Forster; Ubler, H.; Lang, P.; Naab, T.; Bender, R.; Tacconi, L. J.; Wisnioski, E.; Wuyts, S.; Alexander, T.; Beifiori, A.; Belli, S.; Brammer, G.; Burkert, A.; Carollo, C. M.; Chan, J.; Davies, R.; Fossati, M.; Galametz, A.; Genel, S.; Gerhard, O.; Lutz, D.; Mendel, J. T.; Momcheva, I.; Nelson, E. J.; Renzini, A.; Saglia, R.; Sternberg, A.; Tacchella, S.; Tadaki, K.; Wilman, D. (2017): Strongly baryon-dominated disk galaxies at the peak of galaxy formation ten billion years ago. In: Nature, Vol. 543, No. 7645: pp. 397-401
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Abstract

In the cold dark matter cosmology, the baryonic components of galaxies-stars and gas-are thought to be mixed with and embedded in non-baryonic and non-relativistic dark matter, which dominates the total mass of the galaxy and its dark-matter halo(1). In the local (low-redshift) Universe, the mass of dark matter within a galactic disk increases with disk radius, becoming appreciable and then dominant in the outer, baryonic regions of the disks of star-forming galaxies. This results in rotation velocities of the visible matter within the disk that are constant or increasing with disk radius-a hallmark of the dark-matter model(2). Comparisons between the dynamical mass, inferred from these velocities in rotational equilibrium, and the sum of the stellar and cold-gas mass at the peak epoch of galaxy formation ten billion years ago, inferred from ancillary data, suggest high baryon fractions in the inner, star-forming regions of the disks(3-6). Although this implied baryon fraction may be larger than in the local Universe, the systematic uncertainties (owing to the chosen stellar initial-mass function and the calibration of gas masses) render such comparisons inconclusive in terms of the mass of dark matter(7). Here we report rotation curves (showing rotation velocity as a function of disk radius) for the outer disks of six massive star-forming galaxies, and find that the rotation velocities are not constant, but decrease with radius. We propose that this trend arises because of a combination of two main factors: first, a large fraction of the massive high-redshift galaxy population was strongly baryon-dominated, with dark matter playing a smaller part than in the local Universe;and second, the large velocity dispersion in high-redshift disks introduces a substantial pressure term that leads to a decrease in rotation velocity with increasing radius. The effect of both factors appears to increase with redshift. Qualitatively, the observations suggest that baryons in the early (high-redshift) Universe efficiently condensed at the centres of dark-matter haloes when gas fractions were high and dark matter was less concentrated.