Galaxy pairs in redshift catalogs as a probe of dark matter

Jane C. Charlton, Edwin E. Salpeter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Pairs of galaxies extracted from the CfA mB = 14.5 and SSRS redshift catalogs are studied, separately in high- and low-density regions, focusing mostly on the low-density pairs. Our main conclusions are the follow-ing: (1) In low-density regions there is an excess of pairs with radial velocity differences Δv < 150 km s-1, even for pairs with projected separations rp as large as 1 Mpc. The transit time rp/Δv is less than the Hubble time for at least those pairs with rp < 1 Mpc; thus, any initial correlations would have been disrupted before now, and these pairs must be bound. (2) No Kepler relationship is seen between the pair properties (Δv, rp, and L, the pair luminosity), even for pairs that are isolated. (3) The distribution of rp for low-density pairs with Δv < 150 km s-1 is flat and featureless from very small separations out to 2 Mpc. These three facts indicate that large amounts of dark matter (possibly as much as 1013 M out to 1 or 2 Mpc) surround a typical galaxy. (4) The third point suggests a model where pairs at small rp merge rapidly by dynamical friction but are replenished by pairs that begin at larger separation and are heading toward merger, and it allows an estimate of the galactic merger rate. We suggest that many of the galaxies in low-density regions that are classified as elliptical or S0 are in fact merger remnants. (5) In low-density regions, very isolated pairs tend to have smaller values of Δv than those in small groups, but Δv depends little on the projected separation and luminosity of the pair. This suggests that galaxy groupings in low-density regions appear in common halos of dark matter (with the number of galaxies increasing with the total halo mass) rather than each galaxy having its own large spherical isothermal halo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-531
Number of pages15
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 10 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Galaxy pairs in redshift catalogs as a probe of dark matter'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this