SDSS-IV MaNGA: Stellar angular momentum of about 2300 galaxies: Unveiling the bimodality of massive galaxy properties

Mark T. Graham, Michele Cappellari, Hongyu Li, Shude Mao, Matthew A. Bershady, Dmitry Bizyaev, Jonathan Brinkmann, Joel R. Brownstein, Kevin Bundy, Niv Drory, David R. Law, Kaike Pan, Daniel Thomas, David A. Wake, Anne Marie Weijmans, Kyle B. Westfall, Renbin Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

99 Scopus citations


We measure λRe, a proxy for galaxy specific stellar angular momentum within one effective radius, and the ellipticity, ϵ, for about 2300 galaxies of all morphological types observed with integral field spectroscopy as part of the Mapping Nearby Galaxies at Apache Point Observatory survey, the largest such sample to date.We use the (λRe, ϵ) diagram to separate early-type galaxies into fast and slow rotators. We also visually classify each galaxy according to its optical morphology and two-dimensional stellar velocity field. Comparing these classifications to quantitative λRe measurements reveals tight relationships between angular momentum and galaxy structure. In order to account for atmospheric seeing, we use realistic models of galaxy kinematics to derive a general approximate analytic correction for λRe . Thanks to the size of the sample and the large number of massive galaxies, we unambiguously detect a clear bimodality in the (λRe, ϵ) diagram which may result from fundamental differences in galaxy assembly history. There is a sharp secondary density peak inside the region of the diagram with low λRe and ϵ < 0.4, previously suggested as the definition for slow rotators. Most of these galaxies are visually classified as non-regular rotators and have high velocity dispersion. The intrinsic bimodality must be stronger, as it tends to be smoothed by noise and inclination. The large sample of slow rotators allows us for the first time to unveil a secondary peak at ±90° in their distribution of the misalignments between the photometric and kinematic position angles. We confirm that genuine slow rotators start appearing aboveM= 2 × 1011M⊙ where a significant number of high-mass fast rotators also exist.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4711-4737
Number of pages27
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey IV has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, and the Participating Institutions. SDSS acknowledges support and resources from the Center for High-Performance Computing at the University of Utah. The SDSS website is

Funding Information:
This publication makes use of data products from the Two Micron All Sky Survey, which is a joint project of the University of Massachusetts and the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aero- nautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation.

Funding Information:
We thank the anonymous referee for their detailed and constructive comments which led to the significant improvement of this manuscript. We acknowledge helpful comments from Eric Em-sellem that helped to improve this manuscript. MTG is supported by a doctoral studentship supported by a grant from the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (ST/N504233/1). MC acknowledges support from a Royal Society University Research Fellowship. AW acknowledges support of a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellowship.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2018.


  • Galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD- galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: formation
  • Galaxies: kinematics and dynamics
  • Galaxies: spiral

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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