Vol 21, No 6

Stellar dynamical modeling - accuracy of 3D density estimation for edge-on axisymmetric galaxies

Richard Long, Sheng-Dong Lu, Dan-Dan Xu


Abstract From Rybicki’s analysis using the Fourier slice theorem, mathematically it is possible to reproduce uniquely an edge-on axisymmetric galaxy’s 3D light distribution from its 2D surface brightness. Utilizing galaxies from a cosmological simulation, we examine the ability of Syer and Tremaine’s madeto-measure method and Schwarzschild’s method for stellar dynamical modeling to do so for edge-on oblate axisymmetric galaxies. Overall, we find that the methods do not accurately recover the 3D distributions, with the made-to-measure method producing more accurate estimates than Schwarzschild’s method. Our results have implications broader than just luminosity density, and affect other luminosity-weighted distributions within galaxies, for example, age and metallicity.


Keywords galaxies: kinematics and dynamics — galaxies: structure — methods: numerical

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