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The Mass Scale of High-redshift Galaxies: Virial Mass Estimates Calibrated with Stellar Dynamical Models from LEGA-C

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  • A.V.D. Wel
  • J.V. Houdt
  • R. Bezanson
  • M. Franx
  • F. D’Eugenio
  • C. Straatman
  • E.F. Bell
  • A. Muzzin
  • D. Sobral
  • M.V. Maseda
  • A. de Graaff
  • B.P. Holden
Article number9
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>25/08/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Astrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Number of pages10
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Dynamical models for 673 galaxies at z = 0.6-1.0 with spatially resolved (long-slit) stellar kinematic data from LEGA-C are used to calibrate virial mass estimates defined as M vir = K σ ′ ⋆ , int 2 R , with K a scaling factor, σ ′ ⋆ , int the spatially integrated stellar velocity second moment from the LEGA-C survey, and R the effective radius measured from a Sérsic profile fit to Hubble Space Telescope imaging. The sample is representative for M ⋆ > 3 × 1010 M ⊙ and includes all types of galaxies, irrespective of morphology and color. We demonstrate that using R = R sma (the semimajor axis length of the ellipse that encloses 50% of the light) in combination with an inclination correction on σ ′ ⋆ , int produces an unbiased M vir. We confirm the importance of projection effects on σ ′ ⋆ , int by showing the existence of a similar residual trend between virial mass estimates and inclination for the nearby early-type galaxies in the ATLAS3D survey. Also, as previously shown, when using a Sérsic profile-based R estimate, a Sérsic index-dependent correction to account for nonhomology in the radial profiles is required. With respect to analogous dynamical models for low-redshift galaxies from the ATLAS3D survey we find a systematic offset of 0.1 dex in the calibrated virial constant for LEGA-C, which may be due to physical differences between the galaxy samples or an unknown systematic error. Either way, with our work we establish a common mass scale for galaxies across 8 Gyr of cosmic time with a systematic uncertainty of at most 0.1 dex.