SIDM on FIRE: Hydrodynamical self-interacting dark matter simulations of low-mass dwarf galaxies

Victor H. Robles, James S. Bullock, Oliver D. Elbert, Alex Fitts, Alejandro González-Samaniego, Michael Boylan-Kolchin, Philip F. Hopkins, Claude André Faucher-Giguère, Dušan Kereš, Christopher C. Hayward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


We compare a suite of four simulated dwarf galaxies formed in 1010 M haloes of collisionless cold dark matter (CDM) with galaxies simulated in the same haloes with an identical galaxy formation model but a non-zero cross-section for DM self-interactions. These cosmological zoom-in simulations are part of the Feedback In Realistic Environments (FIRE) project and utilize the FIRE-2 model for hydrodynamics and galaxy formation physics. We find the stellar masses of the galaxies formed in self-interacting dark matter (SIDM) with σ/m = 1 cm2 g-1 are very similar to those in CDM (spanning M* ≈ 105.7-7.0 M) and all runs lie on a similar stellar mass-size relation. The logarithmic DM density slope (α = d log ρ/d log r) in the central 250-500 pc remains steeper than α = -0.8 for the CDM-Hydro simulations with stellar mass M* ~ 106.6M and core-like in the most massive galaxy. In contrast, every SIDM hydrodynamic simulation yields a flatter profile, with α > -0.4. Moreover, the central density profiles predicted in SIDM runs without baryons are similar to the SIDM runs that include FIRE- 2 baryonic physics. Thus, SIDM appears to bemuch more robust to the inclusion of (potentially uncertain) baryonic physics than CDM on this mass scale, suggesting that SIDM will be easier to falsify than CDM using low-mass galaxies. Our FIRE simulations predict that galaxies less massive than M* ≲ 3 × 106 M provide potentially ideal targets for discriminating models, with SIDM producing substantial cores in such tiny galaxies and CDM producing cusps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2945-2954
Number of pages10
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2017


  • Galaxies: dwarf
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: formation
  • Galaxies: haloes
  • Local Group

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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