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Burkert, Andreas; Forbes, Duncan A. (2020): High-precision Dark Halo Virial Masses from Globular Cluster Numbers: Implications for Globular Cluster Formation and Galaxy Assembly. In: Astronomical Journal, Vol. 159, No. 2, 56
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We confirm that the number of globular clusters (GCs), N-GC, is an excellent tracer of their host galaxy's halo virial mass, M-vir. The simple linear relation M-vir = 5 x 10(9) MNGC fits the data perfectly from M-vir = 10(10) M to M-vir = 2 x 10(15) M. This result is independent of galaxy morphology and extends statistically into the dwarf galaxy regime with M-vir = 10(8)-10(10) M, including the extreme ultra diffuse galaxy DF44. As this correlation does not depend on GC mass, it is ideally suited for high-precision determinations of M-vir. The linearity is most simply explained by cosmological merging of a high-redshift halo seed population that hosted on average one GC per 5 x 10(8) M of dark matter. We show that hierarchical merging is also extremely powerful in restoring a linear correlation and erasing signatures of even a strong secular evolution of GC systems. The cosmological merging scenario also implies a strong decline of the scatter in N-GC with increasing virial mass in contrast with the observations that show a roughly constant scatter, independent of virial mass. This discrepancy can be explained if errors in determining virial masses from kinematical tracers and gravitational lensing are on the order of a factor of 2. GCs in dwarf satellite galaxies pose a serious problem for high-redshift GC formation scenarios;the dark halo masses of dwarf galaxies hosting GCs therefore might need to be an order of magnitude larger than currently estimated.