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Physics and Astronomy


We explore the radial distribution of satellite galaxies in groups in the Galaxy and Mass Assembly (GAMA) survey and the IllustrisTNG simulations. Considering groups with masses 12.0≤log10⁡(Mh/h−1M⊙)<14.8" role="presentation" style="box-sizing: border-box; margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-variant: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: normal; font-family: inherit; vertical-align: baseline; display: inline; word-spacing: normal; overflow-wrap: normal; white-space: nowrap; float: none; direction: ltr; max-width: none; max-height: none; min-width: 0px; min-height: 0px; position: relative;">12.0≤log10(Mh/h−1M⊙)<14.812.0≤log10⁡(Mh/h−1M⊙)<14.8 at z < 0.267, we find a good agreement between GAMA and a sample of TNG300 groups and galaxies designed to match the GAMA selection. Both display a flat profile in the centre of groups, followed by a decline that becomes steeper towards the group edge, and normalized profiles show no dependence on group mass. Using matched satellites from TNG and dark matter-only TNG-Dark runs we investigate the effect of baryons on satellite radial location. At z = 0, we find that the matched subhaloes from the TNG-Dark runs display a much flatter radial profile: namely, satellites selected above a minimum stellar mass exhibit both smaller halocentric distances and longer survival times in the full-physics simulations compared to their dark-matter only analogues. We then divide the TNG satellites into those which possess TNG-Dark counterparts and those which do not, and develop models for the radial positions of each. We find the satellites with TNG-Dark counterparts are displaced towards the halo centre in the full-physics simulations, and this difference has a power-law behaviour with radius. For the ‘orphan’ galaxies without TNG-Dark counterparts, we consider the shape of their radial distribution and provide a model for their motion over time, which can be used to improve the treatment of satellite galaxies in semi-analytic and semi-empirical models of galaxy formation.


© 2022 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Astronomical Society. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (

Original Publication Information

Stephen D Riggs, Jon Loveday, Peter A Thomas, Annalisa Pillepich, Dylan Nelson, Benne W Holwerda, Exploring the effect of baryons on the radial distribution of satellite galaxies with GAMA and IllustrisTNG, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 514, Issue 4, August 2022, Pages 4676–4695.