The dynamics of the Local Group as a probe of dark energy and modified gravity

Edoardo Carlesi, Hans Arnold Winther, David F. Mota

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In this work, we study the dynamics of the Local Group (LG) within the context of cosmological models beyond General Relativity (GR). Using observable kinematic quantities to identify candidate pairs, we build up samples of simulated LG-like objects drawing from f(R), symmetron, Dvali, Gabadadze & Porrati and quintessence N-body simulations together with their Λ cold dark matter (ΛCDM) counterparts featuring the same initial random phase realizations. The variables and intervals used to define LG-like objects are referred to as LG model; different models are used throughout this work and adapted to study their dynamical and kinematic properties. The aim is to determine how well the observed LG dynamics can be reproduced within cosmological theories beyond GR, We compute kinematic properties of samples drawn from alternative theories and ΛCDM and compare them to actual observations of the LG mass, velocity and position. As a consequence of the additional pull, pairwise tangential and radial velocities are enhanced in modified gravity and coupled dark energy with respect to ΛCDM inducing significant changes to the total angular momentum and energy of the LG. For example, in models such as f(R) and the symmetron this increase can be as large as 60 per cent, peaking well outside of the 95 per cent confidence region allowed by the data. This shows how simple considerations about the LG dynamics can lead to clear small-scale observational signatures for alternative scenarios, without the need of expensive high-resolution simulations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4813-4825
Number of pages13
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2017


  • Local Group
  • dark energy
  • dark matter


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