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Resolving the disc–halo degeneracy – I: a look at NGC 628

Aniyan, S; Freeman, K.C.; Arnaboldi, M.; Gerhard, O.E.; Coccato, L.; Fabricius, M.; Kuijken, K.; Merrifield, Michael R.; Ponomareva, A.A.


S Aniyan

K.C. Freeman

M. Arnaboldi

O.E. Gerhard

L. Coccato

M. Fabricius

K. Kuijken

A.A. Ponomareva


The decomposition of the rotation curve of galaxies into contribution from the disc and dark halo remains uncertain and depends on the adopted mass-to-light ratio (M/L) of the disc. Given the vertical velocity dispersion of stars and disc scale height, the disc surface mass density and hence the M/L can be estimated. We address a conceptual problem with previous measurements of the scale height and dispersion. When using this method, the dispersion and scale height must refer to the same population of stars. The scale height is obtained from near-infrared (IR) studies of edge-on galaxies and is weighted towards older kinematically hotter stars, whereas the dispersion obtained from integrated light in the optical bands includes stars of all ages. We aim to extract the dispersion for the hotter stars, so that it can then be used with the correct scale height to obtain the disc surface mass density. We use a sample of planetary nebulae (PNe) as dynamical tracers in the face-on galaxy NGC 628. We extract two different dispersions from its velocity histogram – representing the older and younger PNe. We also present complementary stellar absorption spectra in the inner regions of this galaxy and use a direct pixel fitting technique to extract the two components. Our analysis concludes that previous studies, which do not take account of the young disc, underestimate the disc surface mass density by a factor of ∼2. This is sufficient to make a maximal disc for NGC 628 appear like a submaximal disc.


Aniyan, S., Freeman, K., Arnaboldi, M., Gerhard, O., Coccato, L., Fabricius, M., …Ponomareva, A. (2018). Resolving the disc–halo degeneracy – I: a look at NGC 628. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 476(2),

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 31, 2018
Online Publication Date Feb 9, 2018
Publication Date May 11, 2018
Deposit Date Apr 27, 2018
Publicly Available Date Apr 27, 2018
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Electronic ISSN 1365-2966
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 476
Issue 2
Keywords galaxies: evolution, galaxies: kinematics and dynamics, galaxies: spiral, dark matter
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©2018 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


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