Nature and Nurture in Dark Matter Halos

Research paper by R. N. Henriksen

Indexed on: 28 Aug '08Published on: 28 Aug '08Published in: Astrophysics


Cosmological simulations consistently predict specific properties of dark matter halos, but these have not yet led to a physical understanding that is generally accepted. This is especially true for the central regions of these structures. Recently two major themes have emerged. In one, the dark matter halo is primarily a result of the sequential accretion of primordial structure (ie `Nature'); while in the other, dynamical relaxation (ie `Nurture') dominates at least in the central regions. Some relaxation is however required in either mechanism. In this paper we accept the recently established scale-free sub-structure of halos as an essential part of both mechanisms. Consequently; a simple model for the central relaxation based on a self-similar cascade of tidal interactions, is contrasted with a model based on the accretion of adiabatically self-similar, primordial structure. We conclude that a weak form of this relaxation is present in the simulations, but that is normally described as the radial orbit instability.