skip to main content

Title: Interplay of stellar and gas-phase metallicities: unveiling insights for stellar feedback modelling with Illustris, IllustrisTNG, and EAGLE

The metal content of galaxies provides a window into their formation in the full context of the cosmic baryon cycle. In this study, we examine the relationship between stellar mass and stellar metallicity (MZ*R) in the hydrodynamic simulations Illustris, TNG, and EAGLE (Evolution and Assembly of GaLaxies and their Environment) to understand the global properties of stellar metallicities within the feedback paradigm employed by these simulations. Interestingly, we observe significant variations in the overall normalization and redshift evolution of the MZ*R across the three simulations. However, all simulations consistently demonstrate a tertiary dependence on the specific star formation rate (sSFR) of galaxies. This finding parallels the relationship seen in both simulations and observations between stellar mass, gas-phase metallicity, and some proxy of galaxy gas content (e.g. SFR, gas fraction, and atomic gas mass). Since we find this correlation exists in all three simulations, each employing a subgrid treatment of the dense, star-forming interstellar medium (ISM) to simulate smooth stellar feedback, we interpret this result as a fairly general feature of simulations of this kind. Furthermore, with a toy analytic model, we propose that the tertiary correlation in the stellar component is sensitive to the extent of the ‘burstiness’ of feedback within galaxies.

more » « less
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Medium: X Size: p. 3342-3359
["p. 3342-3359"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this

    Most stars form in highly clustered environments within molecular clouds, but eventually disperse into the distributed stellar field population. Exactly how the stellar distribution evolves from the embedded stage into gas-free associations and (bound) clusters is poorly understood. We investigate the long-term evolution of stars formed in the starforge simulation suite – a set of radiation-magnetohydrodynamic simulations of star-forming turbulent clouds that include all key stellar feedback processes inherent to star formation. We use nbody6++gpu to follow the evolution of the young stellar systems after gas removal. We use HDBSCAN to define stellar groups and analyse the stellar kinematics to identify the true bound star clusters. The conditions modeled by the simulations, i.e. global cloud surface densities below 0.15 g cm−2, star formation efficiencies below 15 per cent, and gas expulsion time-scales shorter than a free fall time, primarily produce expanding stellar associations and small clusters. The largest star clusters, which have ∼1000 bound members, form in the densest and lowest velocity dispersion clouds, representing ∼32 and 39 per cent of the stars in the simulations, respectively. The cloud’s early dynamical state plays a significant role in setting the classical star formation efficiency versus bound fraction relation. All stellar groups follow a narrow mass-velocity dispersion power-law relation at 10 Myr with a power-law index of 0.21. This correlation result in a distinct mass–size relationship for bound clusters. We also provide valuable constraints on the gas dispersal time-scale during the star formation process and analyse the implications for the formation of bound systems.

    more » « less
  2. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT We present the radial gas-phase, mass-weighted metallicity profiles and gradients of the TNG50 star-forming galaxy population measured at redshifts z = 0–3. We investigate the redshift evolution of gradients and examine relations between gradient (negative) steepness and galaxy properties. We find that TNG50 gradients are predominantly negative at all redshifts, although we observe significant diversity among these negative gradients. We determine that the gradients of all galaxies grow more negative with redshift at a roughly constant rate of approximately $-0.02\ \mathrm{dex\, kpc^{-1}}/\Delta z$. This rate does not vary significantly with galaxy mass. We observe a weak negative correlation between gradient (negative) steepness and galaxy stellar mass at z < 2. However, when we normalize gradients by a characteristic radius defined by the galactic star formation distribution, we find that these normalized gradients do not vary significantly with either stellar mass or redshift. We place our results in the context of previous simulations and show that TNG50 high-redshift gradients are more negative than those of models featuring burstier feedback, which may further highlight high-redshift gradients as important discriminators of galaxy formation models. We also find that z = 0 and z = 0.5 TNG50 gradients are consistent with the gradients observed in galaxies at these redshifts, although the preference for flat gradients observed in redshift z ≳ 1 galaxies is not present in TNG50. If future JWST (James Webb Space Telescope) and ELT (Extremely Large Telescope) observations validate these flat gradients, it may indicate a need for simulation models to implement more powerful radial gas mixing within the ISM (interstellar medium), possibly via turbulence and/or stronger winds. 
    more » « less

    The combination of gas-phase oxygen abundances and stellar metallicities can provide us with unique insights into the metal enrichment histories of galaxies. In this work, we compare the stellar and gas-phase metallicities measured within a 1Re aperture for a representative sample of 472 star-forming galaxies extracted from the SAMI Galaxy Survey. We confirm that the stellar and interstellar medium (ISM) metallicities are strongly correlated, with scatter ∼3 times smaller than that found in previous works, and that integrated stellar populations are generally more metal-poor than the ISM, especially in low-mass galaxies. The ratio between the two metallicities strongly correlates with several integrated galaxy properties including stellar mass, specific star formation rate, and a gravitational potential proxy. However, we show that these trends are primarily a consequence of: (a) the different star formation and metal enrichment histories of the galaxies, and (b) the fact that while stellar metallicities trace primarily iron enrichment, gas-phase metallicity indicators are calibrated to the enrichment of oxygen in the ISM. Indeed, once both metallicities are converted to the same ‘element base’ all of our trends become significantly weaker. Interestingly, the ratio of gas to stellar metallicity is always below the value expected for a simple closed-box model, which requires that outflows and inflows play an important role in the enrichment history across our entire stellar mass range. This work highlights the complex interplay between stellar and gas-phase metallicities and shows how care must be taken in comparing them to constrain models of galaxy formation and evolution.

    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    We present the stellar mass–stellar metallicity relation for 3491 star-forming galaxies at 2 ≲z≲ 3 using rest-frame far-ultraviolet spectra from the LyαTomography IMACS Survey (LATIS). We fit stellar population synthesis models from the Binary Population And Spectral Synthesis code (v2.2.1) to medium-resolution (R∼ 1000) and high signal-to-noise (>30 per 100 km s−1over the wavelength range 1221–1800 Å) composite spectra of galaxies in bins of stellar mass to determine their stellar metallicity, primarily tracing Fe/H. We find a strong correlation between stellar mass and stellar metallicity, with stellar metallicity monotonically increasing with stellar mass at low masses and flattening at high masses (M*≳ 1010.3M). Additionally, we compare our stellar metallicity measurements with the gas-phase oxygen abundance of galaxies at similar redshift and estimate the average [α/Fe] ∼ 0.6. Such highα-enhancement indicates that high-redshift galaxies have not yet undergone significant iron enrichment through Type Ia supernovae. Moreover, we utilize an analytic chemical evolution model to constrain the mass loading parameter of galactic winds as a function of stellar mass. We find that as the stellar mass increases, the mass loading parameter decreases. The parameter then flattens or reaches a turning point at aroundM*∼ 1010.5M. Our findings may signal the onset of black-hole-driven outflows atz∼ 2.5 for galaxies withM*≳ 1010.5M.

    more » « less
  5. Abstract

    Far-ultraviolet (FUV; ∼1200–2000 Å) spectra are fundamental to our understanding of star-forming galaxies, providing a unique window on massive stellar populations, chemical evolution, feedback processes, and reionization. The launch of the James Webb Space Telescope will soon usher in a new era, pushing the UV spectroscopic frontier to higher redshifts than ever before; however, its success hinges on a comprehensive understanding of the massive star populations and gas conditions that power the observed UV spectral features. This requires a level of detail that is only possible with a combination of ample wavelength coverage, signal-to-noise, spectral-resolution, and sample diversity that has not yet been achieved by any FUV spectral database. We present the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph Legacy Spectroscopic Survey (CLASSY) treasury and its first high-level science product, the CLASSY atlas. CLASSY builds on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) archive to construct the first high-quality (S/N1500 Å≳ 5/resel), high-resolution (R∼ 15,000) FUV spectral database of 45 nearby (0.002 <z< 0.182) star-forming galaxies. The CLASSY atlas, available to the public via the CLASSY website, is the result of optimally extracting and coadding 170 archival+new spectra from 312 orbits of HST observations. The CLASSY sample covers a broad range of properties including stellar mass (6.2 < logM(M) < 10.1), star formation rate (−2.0 < log SFR (Myr−1) < +1.6), direct gas-phase metallicity (7.0 < 12+log(O/H) < 8.8), ionization (0.5 < O32< 38.0), reddening (0.02 <E(BV) < 0.67), and nebular density (10 <ne(cm−3) < 1120). CLASSY is biased to UV-bright star-forming galaxies, resulting in a sample that is consistent with thez∼ 0 mass–metallicity relationship, but is offset to higher star formation rates by roughly 2 dex, similar toz≳ 2 galaxies. This unique set of properties makes the CLASSY atlas the benchmark training set for star-forming galaxies across cosmic time.

    more » « less