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The SWELLS survey – IV. Precision measurements of the stellar and dark matter distributions in a spiral lens galaxy



CITA National Fellow.

Packard Research Fellow.


We construct a fully self-consistent mass model for the lens galaxy SDSS J2141 at redshift 0.14, and use it to improve on previous studies by modelling its gravitational lensing effect, gas rotation curve and stellar kinematics simultaneously. We adopt a very flexible axisymmetric mass model constituted by a generalized Navarro–Frenk–White (NFW) dark matter halo and a stellar mass distribution obtained by deprojecting the multi-Gaussian expansion fit to the high-resolution K′-band laser guide star adaptive optics imaging data of the galaxy, with the (spatially constant) mass-to-light ratio as a free parameter. We model the stellar kinematics by solving the anisotropic Jeans equations. We find that the inner logarithmic slope of the dark halo is weakly constrained, i.e. inline image, and consistent with an unmodified NFW profile; we can conclude, however, that steep profiles (γ≥ 1.5) are disfavoured (<14 per cent posterior probability). We marginalize over this parameter to infer the galaxy to have (i) a dark matter fraction within 2.2 disc radii of inline image, independent of the galaxy stellar population, implying a maximal disc for SDSS J2141; (ii) an apparently uncontracted dark matter halo, with concentration inline image and virial velocity inline image, consistent with Λ cold dark matter (ΛCDM) predictions; (iii) a slightly oblate halo (inline image), consistent with predictions from baryon-affected models. Comparing the tightly constrained gravitational stellar mass inferred from the combined analysis (inline image) with that inferred from stellar population modelling of the galaxies’ colours, and accounting for an expected cold gas fraction of 20 ± 10 per cent, we determine a preference for a Chabrier IMF over Salpeter IMF by a Bayes factor of 5.7 (corresponding to substantial evidence). We infer a value inline image for the orbital anisotropy parameter in the meridional plane, in agreement with most studies of local disc galaxies, and ruling out at 99 per cent confidence level that the dynamics of this system can be described by a two-integral distribution function.