Sins of Omission

There’s a paper recently published in Nature Astronomy by Moreno et al, which you can find on the arXiv here. The title is Galaxies lacking dark matter produced by close encounters in a cosmological simulation and the abstract is here:

The standard cold dark matter plus cosmological constant model predicts that galaxies form within dark-matter haloes, and that low-mass galaxies are more dark-matter dominated than massive ones. The unexpected discovery of two low-mass galaxies lacking dark matter immediately provoked concerns about the standard cosmology and ignited explorations of alternatives, including self-interacting dark matter and modified gravity. Apprehension grew after several cosmological simulations using the conventional model failed to form adequate numerical analogues with comparable internal characteristics (stellar masses, sizes, velocity dispersions and morphologies). Here we show that the standard paradigm naturally produces galaxies lacking dark matter with internal characteristics in agreement with observations. Using a state-of-the-art cosmological simulation and a meticulous galaxy-identification technique, we find that extreme close encounters with massive neighbours can be responsible for this. We predict that approximately 30 percent of massive central galaxies (with at least 1011 solar masses in stars) harbour at least one dark-matter-deficient satellite (with 108 – 109 solar masses in stars). This distinctive class of galaxies provides an additional layer in our understanding of the role of interactions in shaping galactic properties. Future observations surveying galaxies in the aforementioned regime will provide a crucial test of this scenario.

It’s quite an interesting result.

I’m reminded of this very well known paper from way back in 1998, available on arXiv here, by Priya Natarajan, Steinn Sigurdsson and Joe Silk, with the abstract:

We propose a scenario for the formation of a population of baryon-rich, dark matter-deficient dwarf galaxies at high redshift that form from the mass swept out in the Intergalactic Medium (IGM) by energetic outflows from luminous quasars. We predict the intrinsic properties of these galaxies, and examine the prospects for their observational detection in the optical, X-ray and radio wavebands. Detectable thermal Sunyaev-Zeldovich decrements (cold spots) on arc-minute scales in the cosmic microwave background radiation maps are expected during the shock-heated expanding phase from these hot bubbles. We conclude that the optimal detection strategy for these dwarfs is via narrow-band Lyman-α imaging of regions around high redshift quasars. An energetically scaled-down version of the same model is speculated upon as a possible mechanism for forming pre-galactic globular clusters.

It’s true that the detailed mechanism for forming dwarf galaxies with low dark matter densities is different in the two papers, but it does show that the issue being addressed by Moreno et al. had been addressed before. It seems to me therefore that the Natarajan et al. paper is clearly relevant background to the Moreno et al. one. I always tell junior colleagues to cite all relevant literature. I wonder why Moreno et al. decided not to do that with this paper?

Had Moreno et al. preprinted their paper before acceptance by Nature Astronomy I’m sure someone would have told them of this omission. This is yet another reason for submitting your papers to arXiv at the same time as you submit them to a journal rather than waiting for them to be published.

One Response to “Sins of Omission”

  1. I have seen this happen many times for papers on arxiv, which have not cited related papers. When I contacted the authors regarding their oversight, their reply usually is that the paper is already accepted and almost in press. I guess the blame also lies with the referee who should have pointed this out to the authors.

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