Volume 459, Number 2, November IV 2006
|Page(s)||391 - 406|
|Published online||12 September 2006|
Dynamics of the NGC 4636 globular cluster system
An extremely dark matter dominated galaxy?
Argelander-Institut für Astronomie, Universität Bonn, Auf dem Hügel 71, 53121 Bonn, Germany e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Universidad de Concepción, Departamento de Física, Casilla 160-C, Concepción, Chile
3 European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching, Germany
Accepted: 6 April 2006
Context.We present the first dynamical study of the globular cluster system of NGC 4636. It is the southernmost giant elliptical galaxy of the Virgo cluster and is claimed to be extremely dark matter dominated, according to X-ray observations.
Aims.Globular clusters are used as dynamical tracers to investigate, by stellar dynamical means, the dark matter content of this galaxy.
Methods.Several hundred medium resolution spectra were acquired at the VLT with FORS 2/MXU. We obtained velocities for 174 globular clusters in the radial range , or in units of effective radius. Assuming a distance of 15 Mpc, the clusters are found at projected galactocentric distances in the range 4 to 70 kpc, the overwhelming majority within 30 kpc. The measured line-of-sight velocity dispersions are compared to Jeans-models.
Results.We find some indication of a rotation of the red (metal-rich) clusters about the minor axis. Out to a radius of 30 kpc, we find a roughly constant projected velocity dispersion for the blue clusters of . The red clusters are found to have a distinctly different behavior: at a radius of about 3′, the velocity dispersion drops by ~ to about , which then remains constant out to a radius of 7′. The cause might be the steepening of the number density profile at ~ observed for the red clusters. Using only the blue clusters as dynamical tracers, we perform Jeans-analyses for different assumptions of the orbital anisotropy. Enforcing the model dark halos to be of the NFW type, we determine their structural parameters. Depending on the anisotropy and the adopted -values, we find that the dark matter fraction within one effective radius can vary between 20% and 50%, with most a probable range between 20% and 30%. The ambiguity of the velocity dispersion in the outermost bin is a main source of uncertainty. A comparison with cosmological N-body simulations reveals no striking disagreement.
Conclusions.Although the dark halo mass still cannot be strongly constrained, NGC 4636 does not seem to be extremely dark matter dominated. The derived circular velocities are also consistent with Modified Newtonian Dynamics.
Key words: galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD / galaxies: kinematics and dynamics / galaxies: individual: NGC 4636 / galaxies: halos
© ESO, 2006
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