Tidal Distortions in NGC1052-DF2 and NGC1052-DF4: Independent Evidence for a Lack of Dark Matter

20 Sep 2021  ·  Michael A. Keim, Pieter van Dokkum, Shany Danieli, Deborah Lokhorst, Jiaxuan Li, Zili Shen, Roberto Abraham, Seery Chen, Colleen Gilhuly, Qing Liu, Allison Merritt, Tim B. Miller, Imad Pasha, Ava Polzin ·

Two ultra diffuse galaxies in the same group, NGC1052-DF2 and NGC1052-DF4, have been found to have little or no dark matter and to host unusually luminous globular cluster populations. Such low mass diffuse objects in a group environment are easily disrupted and are expected to show evidence of tidal distortions... In this work we present deep new imaging of the NGC1052 group obtained with the Dragonfly Telephoto Array to test this hypothesis. We find that both galaxies show strong position angle twists and are significantly more elongated in their outskirts than in their interiors. The group's central massive elliptical NGC1052 is the most likely source of these tidal disturbances. The observed distortions imply that the galaxies have a very low total mass; otherwise, they must be very close to NGC1052. Taking into account a recently derived lower limit on the relative line-of-sight distance between NGC1052-DF2 and NGC1052-DF4 from the tip of the red giant branch stars, we infer that the dark matter halo masses of these galaxies cannot be much greater than their stellar masses. Our findings provide strong evidence, completely independent of kinematic constraints, that both galaxies are indeed dark matter deficient. While tidal distortions do not directly provide new information on the formation of NGC1052-DF2 and NGC1052-DF4, the similarity of their tidal features suggests that they are at comparable distances from NGC1052. read more

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Astrophysics of Galaxies