Dark matter profiles in clusters of galaxies: A phenomenological approach

Yinon Arieli*, Yoel Rephaeli

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There are some basic differences between the observed properties of galaxies and clusters and the predictions from current hydrodynamical simulations. These are particularly pronounced in the central regions of galaxies and clusters. The popular NFW (Navarro, Frenk and White) profile, for example, predicts a density cusp at the center, a behavior that (unsurprisingly) has not been observed. While it is not fully clear what are the reasons for this discrepancy, it perhaps reflects (at least partly) insufficient spatial resolution of the simulations. In this paper we explore a purely phenomenological approach to determine dark matter density profiles that are more consistent with observational results. Specifically, we deduce the gas density distribution from measured X-ray brightness profiles, and substitute it in the hydrostatic equilibrium equation in order to derive the form of dark matter profiles. Given some basic theoretical requirements from a dark matter profile, we then consider a number of simple profiles that have the desired asymptotic form. We conclude that a dark matter profile of the form ρ = ρ01 + r/ra-3 is most consistent with current observational results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)517-528
Number of pages12
JournalNew Astronomy
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2003


  • Dark matter
  • Galaxies: clusters: general
  • X-rays: galaxies: clusters


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