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Merger Response of Halo Anisotropy Properties

Kuan Wang (UMich)Philip Mansfield (Stanford)Dhayaa Anbajagane (UChicago)Camille Avestruz (UMich)
Nov 2023
Anisotropy properties -- halo spin, shape, position offset, velocity offset, and orientation -- are an important family of dark matter halo properties that indicate the level of directional variation of the internal structures of haloes. These properties reflect the dynamical state of haloes, which in turn depends on the mass assembly history. In this work, we study the evolution of anisotropy properties in response to merger activity using the IllustrisTNG simulations. We find that the response trajectories of the anisotropy properties significantly deviate from secular evolution. These trajectories have the same qualitative features and timescales across a wide range of merger and host properties. We propose explanations for the behaviour of these properties and connect their evolution to the relevant stages of merger dynamics. We measure the relevant dynamical timescales. We also explore the dependence of the strength of the response on time of merger, merger ratio, and mass of the main halo. These results provide insight into the physics of halo mergers and their effects on the statistical behaviour of halo properties. This study paves the way towards a physical understanding of scaling relations, particularly to how systematics in their scatter are connected to the mass assembly histories of haloes.
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