Profiles of dark matter velocity anisotropy in simulated clusters

Doron Lemze*, Rick Wagner, Yoel Rephaeli, Sharon Sadeh, Michael L. Norman, Rennan Barkana, Tom Broadhurst, Holland Ford, Marc Postman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report statistical results for dark matter (DM) velocity anisotropy, β, from a sample of some 6000 cluster-size halos (at redshift zero) identified in a ΛCDM hydrodynamical adaptive mesh refinement simulation performed with the ENZO code. These include profiles of β in clusters with different masses, relaxation states, and at several redshifts, modeled both as spherical and triaxial DM configurations. Specifically, although we find a large scatter in the DM velocity anisotropy profiles of different halos (across elliptical shells extending to at least 1.5r vir), universal patterns are found when these are averaged over halo mass, redshift, and relaxation stage. These are characterized by a very small velocity anisotropy at the halo center, increasing outward to 0.27 and leveling off at 0.2r vir. Indirect measurements of the DM velocity anisotropy fall on the upper end of the theoretically expected range. Though measured indirectly, the estimations are derived by using two different surrogate measurements - X-ray and galaxy dynamics. Current estimates of the DM velocity anisotropy are based on a very small cluster sample. Increasing this sample will allow theoretical predictions to be tested, including the speculation that the decay of DM particles results in a large velocity boost. We also find, in accord with previous works, that halos are triaxial and likely to be more prolate when unrelaxed, whereas relaxed halos are more likely to be oblate. Our analysis does not indicate that there is significant correlation (found in some previous studies) between the radial density slope, γ, and β at large radii, 0.3 r vir < r < r vir.

Original languageEnglish
Article number141
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 20 Jun 2012


  • galaxies: clusters: general
  • methods: numerical


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