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The In Situ Origins of Dwarf Stellar Outskirts in FIRE-2
Abstract Extended, old, and round stellar halos appear to be ubiquitous around high-mass dwarf galaxies (10 8.5 < M ⋆ / M ⊙ < 10 9.6 ) in the observed universe. However, it is unlikely that these dwarfs have undergone a sufficient number of minor mergers to form stellar halos that are composed of predominantly accreted stars. Here, we demonstrate that FIRE-2 (Feedback in Realistic Environments) cosmological zoom-in simulations are capable of producing dwarf galaxies with realistic structures, including both a thick disk and round stellar halo. Crucially, these stellar halos are formed in situ, largely via the outward migration of disk stars. However, there also exists a large population of “nondisky” dwarfs in FIRE-2 that lack a well-defined disk/halo and do not resemble the observed dwarf population. These nondisky dwarfs tend to be either more gas-poor or to have burstier recent star formation histories than the disky dwarfs, suggesting that star formation feedback may be preventing disk formation. Both classes of dwarfs underscore the power of a galaxy’s intrinsic shape—which is a direct quantification of the distribution of the galaxy’s stellar content—to interrogate the feedback implementation in simulated galaxies.
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Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10334139
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Volume:
931
Issue:
2
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
152
ISSN:
0004-637X
We study a suite of extremely high-resolution cosmological Feedback in Realistic Environments simulations of dwarf galaxies ($M_{\rm halo} \lesssim 10^{10}\rm \, M_{\odot }$), run to z = 0 with $30\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$ resolution, sufficient (for the first time) to resolve the internal structure of individual supernovae remnants within the cooling radius. Every halo with $M_{\rm halo} \gtrsim 10^{8.6}\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$ is populated by a resolved stellar galaxy, suggesting very low-mass dwarfs may be ubiquitous in the field. Our ultra-faint dwarfs (UFDs; $M_{\ast }\lt 10^{5}\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$) have their star formation (SF) truncated early (z ≳ 2), likely by reionization, while classical dwarfs ($M_{\ast }\gt 10^{5}\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$) continue forming stars to z < 0.5. The systems have bursty star formation histories, forming most of their stars in periods of elevated SF strongly clustered in both space and time. This allows our dwarf with M*/Mhalo > 10−4 to form a dark matter core ${\gt}200\rm \, pc$, while lower mass UFDs exhibit cusps down to ${\lesssim}100\rm \, pc$, as expected from energetic arguments. Our dwarfs with $M_{\ast }\gt 10^{4}\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$ have half-mass radii (R1/2) in agreement with Local Group (LG) dwarfs (dynamical mass versus R1/2 and stellar rotation also resemble observations).more »
4. ABSTRACT We analyse the cold dark matter density profiles of 54 galaxy haloes simulated with Feedback In Realistic Environments (FIRE)-2 galaxy formation physics, each resolved within $0.5{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ of the halo virial radius. These haloes contain galaxies with masses that range from ultrafaint dwarfs ($M_\star \simeq 10^{4.5}\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$) to the largest spirals ($M_\star \simeq 10^{11}\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$) and have density profiles that are both cored and cuspy. We characterize our results using a new, analytic density profile that extends the standard two-parameter Einasto form to allow for a pronounced constant density core in the resolved innermost radius. With one additional core-radius parameter, rc, this three-parameter core-Einasto profile is able to characterize our feedback-impacted dark matter haloes more accurately than other three-parameter profiles proposed in the literature. To enable comparisons with observations, we provide fitting functions for rc and other profile parameters as a function of both M⋆ and M⋆/Mhalo. In agreement with past studies, we find that dark matter core formation is most efficient at the characteristic stellar-to-halo mass ratio M⋆/Mhalo ≃ 5 × 10−3, or $M_{\star } \sim 10^9 \, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$, with cores that are roughly the size of the galaxy half-light radius, rc ≃ 1−5 kpc. Furthermore,more »
5. ABSTRACT We present and study a large suite of high-resolution cosmological zoom-in simulations, using the FIRE-2 treatment of mechanical and radiative feedback from massive stars, together with explicit treatment of magnetic fields, anisotropic conduction and viscosity (accounting for saturation and limitation by plasma instabilities at high β), and cosmic rays (CRs) injected in supernovae shocks (including anisotropic diffusion, streaming, adiabatic, hadronic and Coulomb losses). We survey systems from ultrafaint dwarf ($M_{\ast }\sim 10^{4}\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$, $M_{\rm halo}\sim 10^{9}\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$) through Milky Way/Local Group (MW/LG) masses, systematically vary uncertain CR parameters (e.g. the diffusion coefficient κ and streaming velocity), and study a broad ensemble of galaxy properties [masses, star formation (SF) histories, mass profiles, phase structure, morphologies, etc.]. We confirm previous conclusions that magnetic fields, conduction, and viscosity on resolved ($\gtrsim 1\,$ pc) scales have only small effects on bulk galaxy properties. CRs have relatively weak effects on all galaxy properties studied in dwarfs ($M_{\ast } \ll 10^{10}\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$, $M_{\rm halo} \lesssim 10^{11}\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$), or at high redshifts (z ≳ 1–2), for any physically reasonable parameters. However, at higher masses ($M_{\rm halo} \gtrsim 10^{11}\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$) and z ≲ 1–2, CRs can suppress SF and stellar masses by factorsmore »