An assessment of the “too big to fail” problem for field dwarf galaxies in view of baryonic feedback effects
1 Kapteyn Astronomical Institute, University of Groningen, Landleven 12, 9747AD Groningen, The Netherlands
2 School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Southampton, Southampton SO17 1BJ, UK
Received: 27 November 2015
Accepted: 28 April 2016
Recent studies have established that extreme dwarf galaxies – whether satellites or field objects – suffer from the so called “too big to fail” (TBTF) problem. Put simply, the TBTF problem consists of the fact that it is difficult to explain both the measured kinematics of dwarfs and their observed number density within the lambda cold dark matter (ΛCDM) framework. The most popular proposed solutions to the problem involve baryonic feedback processes. For example, reionization and baryon depletion can decrease the abundance of halos that are expected to host dwarf galaxies. Moreover, feedback related to star formation can alter the dark matter density profile in the central regions of low-mass halos. In this article we assess the TBTF problem for field dwarfs, taking explicitly into account the baryonic effects mentioned above. We find that 1) reionization feedback cannot resolve the TBTF problem on its own, because the halos in question are too massive to be affected by it; and that 2) the degree to which profile modification can be invoked as a solution to the TBTF problem depends on the radius at which galactic kinematics are measured. Based on a literature sample of ~90 dwarfs with interferometric observations in the 21 cm line of atomic hydrogen (HI), we conclude that the TBTF problem persists despite baryonic effects. However, the preceding statement assumes that the sample under consideration is representative of the general population of field dwarfs. In addition, the unexplained excess of dwarf galaxies in ΛCDM could be as small as a factor of ≈ 1.8, given the current uncertainties in the measurement of the galactic velocity function. Both of these caveats highlight the importance of upcoming uniform surveys with HI interferometers for advancing our understanding of the issue.
Key words: dark matter / galaxies: dwarf / galaxies: kinematics and dynamics / galaxies: halos / surveys / radio lines: galaxies
© ESO, 2016