Reconciling M/L Ratios Across Cosmic Time: a Concordance IMF for Massive Galaxies
Pieter van Dokkum, Charlie Conroy
arXiv:2407.06281v1 Announce Type: new
Abstract: The stellar initial mass function (IMF) is thought to be bottom-heavy in the cores of the most massive galaxies, with an excess of low mass stars compared to the Milky Way. However, studies of the kinematics of quiescent galaxies at 27, to reduce tensions with galaxy formation models. Here we explore IMFs that are simultaneously bottom-heavy, with a steep slope at low stellar masses, and top-heavy, with a shallow slope at high masses. We derive a form of the IMF for massive galaxies that is consistent with measurements in the local universe and yet produces relatively low M/L ratios at high redshift. This `concordance’ IMF has slopes $gamma_1=2.40pm0.09$, $gamma_2=2.00pm0.14$, and $gamma_3=1.85pm0.11$ in the regimes 0.1-0.5 Msun, 0.5-1 Msun, and >1 Msun respectively. The IMF parameter $alpha$, the mass excess compared to a Milky Way IMF, ranges from $log(alpha)approx+0.3$ for present-day galaxies to $log(alpha)approx-0.1$ for their star forming progenitors. The concordance IMF applies only to the central regions of the most massive galaxies, with velocity dispersions ~300 km/s, and their progenitors. However, it can be generalized using a previously-measured relation between $alpha$ and $sigma$. We arrive at the following modification to the Kroupa (2001) IMF for galaxies with $sigmagtrsim 160$ km/s: $gamma_1approx1.3+4.3logsigma_{160}$; $gamma_2approx2.3-1.2logsigma_{160}$; and $gamma_3approx2.3-1.7logsigma_{160}$, with $sigma_{160}=sigma/160$ km/s. If galaxies grow primarily inside-out, so that velocity dispersions are relatively stable, these relations should also hold at high redshift.arXiv:2407.06281v1 Announce Type: new
Abstract: The stellar initial mass function (IMF) is thought to be bottom-heavy in the cores of the most massive galaxies, with an excess of low mass stars compared to the Milky Way. However, studies of the kinematics of quiescent galaxies at 27, to reduce tensions with galaxy formation models. Here we explore IMFs that are simultaneously bottom-heavy, with a steep slope at low stellar masses, and top-heavy, with a shallow slope at high masses. We derive a form of the IMF for massive galaxies that is consistent with measurements in the local universe and yet produces relatively low M/L ratios at high redshift. This `concordance’ IMF has slopes $gamma_1=2.40pm0.09$, $gamma_2=2.00pm0.14$, and $gamma_3=1.85pm0.11$ in the regimes 0.1-0.5 Msun, 0.5-1 Msun, and >1 Msun respectively. The IMF parameter $alpha$, the mass excess compared to a Milky Way IMF, ranges from $log(alpha)approx+0.3$ for present-day galaxies to $log(alpha)approx-0.1$ for their star forming progenitors. The concordance IMF applies only to the central regions of the most massive galaxies, with velocity dispersions ~300 km/s, and their progenitors. However, it can be generalized using a previously-measured relation between $alpha$ and $sigma$. We arrive at the following modification to the Kroupa (2001) IMF for galaxies with $sigmagtrsim 160$ km/s: $gamma_1approx1.3+4.3logsigma_{160}$; $gamma_2approx2.3-1.2logsigma_{160}$; and $gamma_3approx2.3-1.7logsigma_{160}$, with $sigma_{160}=sigma/160$ km/s. If galaxies grow primarily inside-out, so that velocity dispersions are relatively stable, these relations should also hold at high redshift.

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