A transition mass in the local Tully-Fisher relation

Raymond C. Simons, Susan A. Kassin, Benjamin J. Weiner, Timothy M. Heckman, Janice C. Lee, Jennifer M. Lotz, Michaelh Peth, Kirill Tchernyshyov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


We study the stellar mass Tully-Fisher relation (TFR; stellar mass versus rotation velocity) for a morphologically blind selection of emission line galaxies in the field at redshifts 0.1 < z < 0.375. Kinematics (σg, Vrot) are measured from emission lines in Keck/DEIMOS spectra and quantitative morphology is measured from V- and I-band Hubble images. We find a transition stellar mass in the TFR, logM*/M = 9.5. Above this mass, nearly all galaxies are rotation dominated, on average more morphologically disc-like according to quantitative morphology, and lie on a relatively tight TFR. Below this mass, the TFR has significant scatter to low rotation velocity and galaxies can either be rotation-dominated discs on the TFR or asymmetric or compact galaxies which scatter off. We refer to this transition mass as the 'mass of disc formation', Mdf because above it all star-forming galaxies form discs (except for a small number of major mergers and highly star-forming systems), whereas below it a galaxy may or may not form a disc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)986-997
Number of pages12
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Apr 28 2015


  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: formation
  • Galaxies: fundamental parameters
  • Galaxies: kinematics and dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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