The same with less: the cosmic web of warm versus cold dark matter dwarf galaxies

Reed, Darren S. ; Schneider, Aurel ; Smith, Robert E. ; Potter, Doug ; Stadel, Joachim ; Moore, Ben

In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2015, vol. 451, no. 4, p. 4413-4423

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    We explore fundamental properties of the distribution of low-mass dark matter haloes within the cosmic web using warm dark matter (WDM) and cold dark matter (CDM) cosmological simulations. Using self-abundance-matched mock galaxy catalogues, we show that the distribution of dwarf galaxies in a WDM universe, wherein low-mass halo formation is heavily suppressed, is nearly indistinguishable to that of a CDM universe whose low-mass haloes are not seen because galaxy formation is suppressed below some threshold halo mass. However, if the scatter between dwarf galaxy luminosity and halo properties is large enough, low-mass CDM haloes would sometimes host relatively bright galaxies thereby populating CDM voids with the occasional isolated galaxy and reducing the numbers of completely empty voids. Otherwise, without high mass to light scatter, all mock galaxy clustering statistics that we consider - the auto-correlation function, the numbers and radial profiles of satellites, the numbers of isolated galaxies, and the probability distribution function of small voids - are nearly identical in CDM and WDM. WDM voids are neither larger nor emptier than CDM voids, when constructed from abundance-matched halo catalogues. It is thus a challenge to determine whether the CDM problem of the overabundance of small haloes with respect to the number density of observed dwarf galaxies has a cosmological solution or an astrophysical solution. However, some clues about the dark matter particle and the scatter between the properties of dwarf galaxies and their dark matter halo hosts might be found in the cosmic web of galaxies in future surveys of the local volume