The Central Dark Matter Distribution Of NGC 2976
We study the mass distribution in the late-type dwarf galaxy NGC 2976 through stellar kinematics obtained with the Visible Integral Field ReplicableUnit Spectrograph Prototype and anisotropic Jeans models as a test of cosmological simulations and baryonic processes that putatively alter small-scale structure. Previous measurements of the Ha emission-line kinematics have determined that the dark matter halo of NGC 2976 is most consistent with a cored density profile. We find that the stellar kinematics are best fit with a cuspy halo. Cored dark matter halo fits are only consistent with the stellar kinematics if the stellar mass-to-light ratio is significantly larger than that derived from stellar population synthesis, while the best-fitting cuspy model has no such conflict. The inferred mass distribution from a harmonic decomposition of the gaseous kinematics is inconsistent with that of the stellar kinematics. This difference is likely due to the gas disk not meeting the assumptions that underlie the analysis such as no pressure support, a constant kinematic axis, and planar orbits. By relaxing some of these assumptions, in particular the form of the kinematic axis with radius, the gas-derived solution can be made consistent with the stellar kinematic models. A strong kinematic twist in the gas of NGC 2976' s center suggests caution, and we advance the mass model based on the stellar kinematics as more reliable. The analysis of this first galaxy shows promising evidence that dark matter halos in late-type dwarfs may in fact be more consistent with cuspy dark matter distributions than earlier work has claimed.