skip to main content

Title: Extinguishing the FIRE: environmental quenching of satellite galaxies around Milky Way-mass hosts in simulations

The star formation and gas content of satellite galaxies around the Milky Way (MW) and Andromeda (M31) are depleted relative to more isolated galaxies in the Local Group (LG) at fixed stellar mass. We explore the environmental regulation of gas content and quenching of star formation in z = 0 galaxies at $M_{*}=10^{5\!-\!10}\, \rm {M}_{\odot }$ around 14 MW-mass hosts from the Feedback In Realistic Environments 2 (FIRE-2) simulations. Lower mass satellites ($M_{*}\lesssim 10^7\, \rm {M}_{\odot }$) are mostly quiescent and higher mass satellites ($M_{*}\gtrsim 10^8\, \rm {M}_{\odot }$) are mostly star forming, with intermediate-mass satellites ($M_{*}\approx 10^{7\!-\!8}\, \rm {M}_{\odot }$) split roughly equally between quiescent and star forming. Hosts with more gas in their circumgalactic medium have a higher quiescent fraction of massive satellites ($M_{*}=10^{8\!-\!9}\, \rm {M}_{\odot }$). We find no significant dependence on isolated versus paired (LG-like) host environments, and the quiescent fractions of satellites around MW-mass and Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC)-mass hosts from the FIRE-2 simulations are remarkably similar. Environmental effects that lead to quenching can also occur as pre-processing in low-mass groups prior to MW infall. Lower mass satellites typically quenched before MW infall as central galaxies or rapidly during infall into a low-mass group or more » a MW-mass galaxy. Most intermediate- to high-mass quiescent satellites have experienced ≥1–2 pericentre passages (≈2.5–5 Gyr) within a MW-mass halo. Most galaxies with $M_{*}\gtrsim 10^{6.5}\, \rm {M}_{\odot }$ did not quench before falling into a host, indicating a possible upper mass limit for isolated quenching. The simulations reproduce the average trend in the LG quiescent fraction across the full range of satellite stellar masses. Though the simulations are consistent with the Satellites Around Galactic Analogs (SAGA) survey’s quiescent fraction at $M_{*}\gtrsim 10^8\, \rm {M}_{\odot }$, they do not generally reproduce SAGA’s turnover at lower masses.

« less
; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
2107724 2102729 2107772 2108962 1910346 1752913
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 5276-5295
Oxford University Press
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. ABSTRACT We study star formation histories (SFHs) of 500 dwarf galaxies (stellar mass $M_\ast =10^5\!-\!10^9\, \rm {M}_\odot$) from FIRE-2 cosmological zoom-in simulations. We compare dwarfs around individual Milky Way (MW)-mass galaxies, dwarfs in Local Group (LG)-like environments, and true field (i.e. isolated) dwarf galaxies. We reproduce observed trends wherein higher mass dwarfs quench later (if at all), regardless of environment. We also identify differences between the environments, both in terms of ‘satellite versus central’ and ‘LG versus individual MW versus isolated dwarf central.’ Around the individual MW-mass hosts, we recover the result expected from environmental quenching: central galaxies in the ‘near field’ have more extended SFHs than their satellite counterparts, with the former more closely resemble isolated (true field) dwarfs (though near-field centrals are still somewhat earlier forming). However, this difference is muted in the LG-like environments, where both near-field centrals and satellites have similar SFHs, which resemble satellites of single MW-mass hosts. This distinction is strongest for M* = 106–$10^7\, \rm {M}_\odot$ but exists at other masses. Our results suggest that the paired halo nature of the LG may regulate star formation in dwarf galaxies even beyond the virial radii of the MW and Andromeda. Caution is needed when comparingmore »zoom-in simulations targeting isolated dwarf galaxies against observed dwarf galaxies in the LG.« less
  2. 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 »∼2–4, given reasonable injection efficiencies and relatively high effective diffusion coefficients $\kappa \gtrsim 3\times 10^{29}\, {\rm cm^{2}\, s^{-1}}$. At lower κ, CRs take too long to escape dense star-forming gas and lose their energy to collisional hadronic losses, producing negligible effects on galaxies and violating empirical constraints from spallation and γ-ray emission. At much higher κ CRs escape too efficiently to have appreciable effects even in the CGM. But around $\kappa \sim 3\times 10^{29}\, {\rm cm^{2}\, s^{-1}}$, CRs escape the galaxy and build up a CR-pressure-dominated halo which maintains approximate virial equilibrium and supports relatively dense, cool (T ≪ 106 K) gas that would otherwise rain on to the galaxy. CR ‘heating’ (from collisional and streaming losses) is never dominant.« less

    While many tensions between Local Group (LG) satellite galaxies and Λ cold dark matter cosmology have been alleviated through recent cosmological simulations, the spatial distribution of satellites remains an important test of physical models and physical versus numerical disruption in simulations. Using the FIRE-2 cosmological zoom-in baryonic simulations, we examine the radial distributions of satellites with $M_*\gt 10^5$ M⊙ around eight isolated Milky Way (MW) mass host galaxies and four hosts in LG-like pairs. We demonstrate that these simulations resolve the survival and physical destruction of satellites with $M_*\gtrsim 10^5$ M⊙. The simulations broadly agree with LG observations, spanning the radial profiles around the MW and M31. This agreement does not depend strongly on satellite mass, even at distances ≲100 kpc. Host-to-host variation dominates the scatter in satellite counts within 300 kpc of the hosts, while time variation dominates scatter within 50 kpc. More massive host galaxies within our sample have fewer satellites at small distances, likely because of enhanced tidal destruction of satellites via the baryonic discs of host galaxies. Furthermore, we quantify and provide fits to the tidal depletion of subhaloes in baryonic relative to dark matter-only simulations as a function of distance. Our simulated profiles imply observational incompleteness in the LGmore »even at $M_*\gtrsim 10^5$ M⊙: we predict 2–10 such satellites to be discovered around the MW and possibly 6–9 around M31. To provide cosmological context, we compare our results with the radial profiles of satellites around MW analogues in the SAGA survey, finding that our simulations are broadly consistent with most SAGA systems.

    « less
  4. ABSTRACT Surveys of the Milky Way (MW) and M31 enable detailed studies of stellar populations across ages and metallicities, with the goal of reconstructing formation histories across cosmic time. These surveys motivate key questions for galactic archaeology in a cosmological context: When did the main progenitor of an MW/M31-mass galaxy form, and what were the galactic building blocks that formed it? We investigate the formation times and progenitor galaxies of MW/M31-mass galaxies using the Feedback In Realistic Environments-2 cosmological simulations, including six isolated MW/M31-mass galaxies and six galaxies in Local Group (LG)-like pairs at z = 0. We examine main progenitor ‘formation’ based on two metrics: (1) transition from primarily ex-situ to in-situ stellar mass growth and (2) mass dominance compared to other progenitors. We find that the main progenitor of an MW/M31-mass galaxy emerged typically at z ∼ 3–4 ($11.6\!\!-\!\!12.2\, \rm {Gyr}$ ago), while stars in the bulge region (inner 2 kpc) at z = 0 formed primarily in a single main progenitor at z ≲ 5 (${\lesssim} \!12.6\, \rm {Gyr}$ ago). Compared with isolated hosts, the main progenitors of LG-like paired hosts emerged significantly earlier (Δz ∼ 2, $\Delta t\!\sim \!1.6\, \rm {Gyr}$), with ∼4× higher stellar mass at all zmore »≳ 4 (${\gtrsim} \!12.2\, \rm {Gyr}$ ago). This highlights the importance of environment in MW/M31-mass galaxy formation, especially at early times. On average, about 100 galaxies with $\rm {\it{ M}}_\rm {star}\!\gtrsim \!10^5\, \rm {M}_\odot$ went into building a typical MW/M31-mass system. Thus, surviving satellites represent a highly incomplete census (by ∼5×) of the progenitor population.« less
  5. ABSTRACT This paper presents a survey of Mg ii absorbing gas in the vicinity of 380 random galaxies, using 156 background quasi-stellar objects (QSOs) as absorption-line probes. The sample comprises 211 isolated (73 quiescent and 138 star-forming galaxies) and 43 non-isolated galaxies with sensitive constraints for both Mg ii absorption and H α emission. The projected distances span a range from d = 9 to 497 kpc, redshifts of the galaxies range from z = 0.10 to 0.48, and rest-frame absolute B-band magnitudes range from MB = −16.7 to −22.8. Our analysis shows that the rest-frame equivalent width of Mg ii, Wr(2796), depends on halo radius (Rh), B-band luminosity(LB), and stellar mass (Mstar) of the host galaxies, and declines steeply with increasing d for isolated, star-forming galaxies. At the same time, Wr(2796) exhibits no clear trend for either isolated, quiescent galaxies or non-isolated galaxies. In addition, the covering fraction of Mg ii absorbing gas 〈κ〉 is high with 〈κ〉 ≳ 60 per cent at <40 kpc for isolated galaxies and declines rapidly to 〈κ〉 ≈ 0 at d ≳ 100 kpc. Within the gaseous radius, the incidence of Mg ii gas depends sensitively on both Mstar and the specific star formation rate inferred from H α. Different from what is known for massive quiescent haloes,more »the observed velocity dispersion of Mg ii absorbing gas around star-forming galaxies is consistent with expectations from virial motion, which constrains individual clump mass to $m_{\rm cl} \gtrsim 10^5 \, \rm M_\odot$ and cool gas accretion rate of $\sim 0.7\!-\!2 \, \mathrm{ M}_\odot \, \rm yr^{-1}$. Finally, we find no strong azimuthal dependence of Mg ii absorption for either star-forming or quiescent galaxies. Our results demonstrate that multiple parameters affect the properties of gaseous haloes around galaxies and highlight the need of a homogeneous, absorption-blind sample for establishing a holistic description of chemically enriched gas in the circumgalactic space.« less