skip to main content

Title: The Impact of Cosmic Rays on the Kinematics of the Circumgalactic Medium
We use hydrodynamical simulations of two Milky Way-mass galaxies to demonstrate the impact of cosmic-ray pressure on the kinematics of cool and warm circumgalactic gas. Consistent with previous studies, we find that cosmic-ray pressure can dominate over thermal pressure in the inner 50 kpc of the circumgalactic medium (CGM), creating an overall cooler CGM than that of similar galaxy simulations run without cosmic rays. We generate synthetic sightlines of the simulated galaxies' CGM and use Voigt profile fitting methods to extract ion column densities, Doppler-b parameters, and velocity centroids of individual absorbers. We directly compare these synthetic spectral line fits with HST/COS CGM absorption-line data analyses, which tend to show that metallic species with a wide range of ionization potential energies are often kinematically aligned. Compared to the Milky-Way simulation run without cosmic rays, the presence of cosmic-ray pressure in the inner CGM creates narrower OVI absorption features and broader SiIII absorption features, a quality which is more consistent with observational data. Additionally, because the cool gas is buoyant due to nonthermal cosmic-ray pressure support, the velocity centroids of both cool and warm gas tend to align in the simulated Milky Way with feedback from cosmic rays. Our study demonstrates more » that detailed, direct comparisons between simulations and observations, focused on gas kinematics, have the potential to reveal the dominant physical mechanisms that shape the CGM. « less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
1812531
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10337352
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical journal
ISSN:
0004-637X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    We use hydrodynamical simulations of two Milky Way–mass galaxies to demonstrate the impact of cosmic-ray pressure on the kinematics of cool and warm circumgalactic gas. Consistent with previous studies, we find that cosmic-ray pressure can dominate over thermal pressure in the inner 50 kpc of the circumgalactic medium (CGM), creating an overall cooler CGM than that of similar galaxy simulations run without cosmic rays. We generate synthetic sight lines of the simulated galaxies’ CGM and use Voigt profile-fitting methods to extract ion column densities, Doppler-bparameters, and velocity centroids of individual absorbers. We directly compare these synthetic spectral line fits with HST/COS CGM absorption-line data analyses, which tend to show that metallic species with a wide range of ionization potential energies are often kinematically aligned. Compared to the Milky Way simulation run without cosmic rays, the presence of cosmic-ray pressure in the inner CGM creates narrower Oviabsorption features and broader Siiiiabsorption features, a quality that is more consistent with observational data. Additionally, because the cool gas is buoyant due to nonthermal cosmic-ray pressure support, the velocity centroids of both cool and warm gas tend to align in the simulated Milky Way with feedback from cosmic rays. Our study demonstrates thatmore »detailed, direct comparisons between simulations and observations, focused on gas kinematics, have the potential to reveal the dominant physical mechanisms that shape the CGM.

    « less
  2. ABSTRACT

    The physics of magnetic fields (B) and cosmic rays (CRs) have recently been included in simulations of galaxy formation. However, significant uncertainties remain in how these components affect galaxy evolution. To understand their common observational tracers, we analyse the magnetic fields in a set of high-resolution, magnetohydrodynamic, cosmological simulations of Milky-Way-like galaxies from the FIRE-2 project. We compare mock observables of magnetic field tracers for simulations with and without CRs to observations of Zeeman splitting and rotation/dispersion measures. We find reasonable agreement between simulations and observations in both the neutral and the ionized interstellar medium (ISM). We find that the simulated galaxies with CRs show weaker ISM |B| fields on average compared to their magnetic-field-only counterparts. This is a manifestation of the effects of CRs in the diffuse, low density inner circumgalactic medium (CGM). We find that equipartition between magnetic and cosmic ray energy densities may be valid at large (> 1 kpc) scales for typical ISM densities of Milky-Way-like galaxies, but not in their haloes. Within the ISM, the magnetic fields in our simulated galaxies follow a power-law scaling with gas density. The scaling extends down to neutral hydrogen number densities < 300 cm−3, in contrast to observationally derived models,more »but consistent with the observational measurements. Finally, we generate synthetic rotation measure (RM) profiles for projections of the simulated galaxies and compare to observational constraints in the CGM. While consistent with upper limits, improved data are needed to detect the predicted CGM RMs at 10–200 kpc and better constrain theoretical predictions.

    « less
  3. ABSTRACT We investigate the impact of cosmic rays (CRs) on the circumgalactic medium (CGM) in FIRE-2 simulations, for ultra-faint dwarf through Milky Way (MW)-mass haloes hosting star-forming (SF) galaxies. Our CR treatment includes injection by supernovae, anisotropic streaming and diffusion along magnetic field lines, and collisional and streaming losses, with constant parallel diffusivity $\kappa \sim 3\times 10^{29}\, \mathrm{cm^2\ s^{-1}}$ chosen to match γ-ray observations. With this, CRs become more important at larger halo masses and lower redshifts, and dominate the pressure in the CGM in MW-mass haloes at z ≲ 1–2. The gas in these ‘CR-dominated’ haloes differs significantly from runs without CRs: the gas is primarily cool (a few ${\sim}10^{4}\,$ K), and the cool phase is volume-filling and has a thermal pressure below that needed for virial or local thermal pressure balance. Ionization of the ‘low’ and ‘mid’ ions in this diffuse cool gas is dominated by photoionization, with O vi columns ${\gtrsim}10^{14.5}\, \mathrm{cm^{-2}}$ at distances ${\gtrsim}150\, \mathrm{kpc}$. CR and thermal gas pressure are locally anticorrelated, maintaining total pressure balance, and the CGM gas density profile is determined by the balance of CR pressure gradients and gravity. Neglecting CRs, the same haloes are primarily warm/hot ($T\gtrsim 10^{5}\,$K) with thermal pressure balancing gravity,more »collisional ionization dominates, O vi columns are lower and Ne viii higher, and the cool phase is confined to dense filaments in local thermal pressure equilibrium with the hot phase.« less
  4. Abstract

    Absorption-line measurements of the circumgalactic medium (CGM) display a highly nonuniform distribution of lower ionization state species accompanied by more widespread higher ionization state material. This suggests that the CGM is a dynamic, multiphase medium, such as arises in the presence of turbulence. To better understand this evolution, we perform hydrodynamic and magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) simulations of the CGM surrounding Milky Way–like galaxies. In both cases, the CGM is initially in hydrostatic balance in a 1012Mdark matter gravitational potential, and the simulations include rotation in the inner halo and turbulence that decreases radially. They also track ionizations, recombinations, and species-by-species radiative cooling in the presence of the redshift-zero UV background, employing the MAIHEM nonequilibrium chemistry package. We find that after 9 Gyr of evolution, the presence of a magnetic field leads to an overall hotter CGM, with cool gas in the center where magnetic pressure dominates. While the non-MHD run produces more cold clouds overall, we find similar Siiv/Oviand Nv/Oviratios between the MHD and non-MHD runs, which are both very different from their equilibrium values. The non-MHD halo develops cool, low angular momentum filaments above the central disk, in comparison to the MHD run that has more efficient angular momentummore »transport, especially for the cold gas, which forms a more ordered and extended disk late into its evolution.

    « less
  5. ABSTRACT

    Quasar absorption-line studies in the ultraviolet (UV) can uniquely probe the nature of the multiphase cool–warm (104 < T < 106 K) gas in and around galaxy clusters, promising to provide unprecedented insights into (1) interactions between the circumgalactic medium (CGM) associated with infalling galaxies and the hot (T > 106 K) X-ray emitting intracluster medium (ICM), (2) the stripping of metal-rich gas from the CGM, and (3) a multiphase structure of the ICM with a wide range of temperatures and metallicities. In this work, we present results from a high-resolution simulation of an $\sim 10^{14} \, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$ galaxy cluster to study the physical properties and observable signatures of this cool–warm gas in galaxy clusters. We show that the ICM becomes increasingly multiphased at large radii, with the cool–warm gas becoming dominant in cluster outskirts. The diffuse cool–warm gas also exhibits a wider range of metallicity than the hot X-ray emitting gas. We make predictions for the covering fractions of key absorption-line tracers, both in the ICM and in the CGM of cluster galaxies, typically observed with the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph aboard the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). We further extract synthetic spectra to demonstrate the feasibility of detecting and characterizingmore »the thermal, kinematic, and chemical composition of the cool–warm gas using H i, O vi, and C iv lines, and we predict an enhanced population of broad Ly α absorbers tracing the warm gas. Lastly, we discuss future prospects of probing the multiphase structure of the ICM beyond HST.

    « less