We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Research & business

View Profile

Publication details for Dr Alis Deason

Callingham, Thomas M, Cautun, Marius, Deason, Alis J, Frenk, Carlos S, Wang, Wenting, Gómez, Facundo A, Grand, Robert J J, Marinacci, Federico & Pakmor, Ruediger (2019). The mass of the Milky Way from satellite dynamics. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 484(4): 5453-5467.

Author(s) from Durham


We present and apply a method to infer the mass of the Milky Way (MW) by comparing the dynamics
of MW satellites to those of model satellites in the EAGLE cosmological hydrodynamics simulations. A
distribution function (DF) for galactic satellites is constructed from EAGLE using specific angular momentum
and specific energy, which are scaled so as to be independent of host halo mass. In this 2-dimensional space,
the orbital properties of satellite galaxies vary according to the host halo mass. The halo mass can be inferred
by calculating the likelihood that the observed satellite population is drawn from this DF. Our method is
robustly calibrated on mock EAGLE systems. We validate it by applying it to the completely independent
suite of 30 AURIGA high-resolution simulations of MW-like galaxies: the method accurately recovers their
true mass and associated uncertainties. We then apply it to ten classical satellites of the MW with 6D phasespace measurements, including updated proper motions from the Gaia satellite. The mass of the MW is
estimated to be MMW
200 = 1.17+0.21
−0.15 × 1012M (68% confidence limits). We combine our total mass estimate
with recent mass estimates in the inner regions of the Galaxy to infer an inner dark matter (DM) mass
fraction MDM(< 20 kpc)/MDM
200 = 0.12 which is typical of ∼1012M ΛCDM haloes in hydrodynamical
galaxy formation simulations. Assuming an NFW profile, this is equivalent to a halo concentration of c
MW 200 = 10.9 +2.6 −2.0