The ATLAS3D project - XXV: Two-dimensional kinematic analysis of simulated galaxies and the cosmological origin of fast and slow rotators

Thorsten Naab, L. Oser, E. Emsellem, Michele Cappellari, D. Krajnović, Richard M. McDermid, Katherine Alatalo, Estelle Bayet, L. Blitz, M. Bois, Frederic Bournaud, M. Bureau, A. Crocker, R. L. Davies, T. A. Davis, P.T. de Zeeuw, P.A. Duc, Michaela Hirschmann, P. H. Johansson, S. KhochfarH. Kuntschner, R. Morganti, T. Oosterloo, Marc Sarzi, N. Scott, P. Serra, G. van de Ven, A. Weijmans, Lisa M. Young

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We present a detailed two-dimensional stellar dynamical analysis of a sample of 44 cosmological hydrodynamical simulations of individual central galaxies with stellar masses of 2 × 1010 M⊙ ≲ M* ≲ 6 × 1011 M⊙. Kinematic maps of the stellar line-of-sight velocity, velocity dispersion and higher order Gauss–Hermite moments h3 and h4 are constructed for each central galaxy and for the most massive satellites. The amount of rotation is quantified using the λR-parameter. The velocity, velocity dispersion, h3 and h4 fields of the simulated galaxies show a diversity similar to observed kinematic maps of early-type galaxies in the ATLAS3D survey. This includes fast (regular), slow and misaligned rotation, hot spheroids with embedded cold disc components as well as galaxies with counter-rotating cores or central depressions in the velocity dispersion. We link the present-day kinematic properties to the individual cosmological formation histories of the galaxies. In general, major galaxy mergers have a significant influence on the rotation properties resulting in both a spin-down as well as a spin-up of the merger remnant. Lower mass galaxies with significant (≳18 per cent) in situ formation of stars since z ≈ 2, or with additional gas-rich major mergers – resulting in a spin-up – in their formation history, form elongated (ϵ ∼ 0.45) fast rotators (λR ∼ 0.46) with a clear anticorrelation of h3 and v/σ. An additional formation path for fast rotators includes gas-poor major mergers leading to a spin-up of the remnants (λR ∼ 0.43). This formation path does not result in anticorrelated h3 and v/σ. The formation histories of slow rotators can include late major mergers. If the merger is gas rich, the remnant typically is a less flattened slow rotator with a central dip in the velocity dispersion. If the merger is gas poor, the remnant is very elongated (ϵ ∼ 0.43) and slowly rotating (λR ∼ 0.11). The galaxies most consistent with the rare class of non-rotating round early-type galaxies grow by gas-poor minor mergers alone. In general, more massive galaxies have less in situ star formation since z ∼ 2, rotate slower and have older stellar populations. We discuss general implications for the formation of fast and slowly rotating galaxies as well as the weaknesses and strengths of the underlying models.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3357-3387
Number of pages31
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Early online date17 Sept 2014
Publication statusPublished - 11 Nov 2014


  • Cd- galaxies
  • Elliptical and lenticular
  • Evolution - galaxies
  • Formation - galaxies
  • galaxies
  • Kinematics and dynamics - galaxies
  • Structure


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