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  1. Abstract The recent discovery of the extremely lensed Earendel object at z = 6.2 is remarkable in that it is likely a single star or stellar multiple, observed within the first billion years of cosmic history. Depending on its mass, which is still uncertain but will soon be more tightly constrained with the James Webb Space Telescope, the Earendel star might even be a member of the first generation of stars, the so-called Population III (Pop III). By combining results from detailed cosmological simulations of the assembly of the first galaxies, including the enrichment of the pristine gas with heavy chemical elements, with assumptions on key stellar parameters, we quantify the probability that Earendel indeed has a Pop III origin. We find that this probability is nonnegligible throughout the mass range inferred for Earendel, specifically ranging from a few percent at the lower-mass end to near unity for some Pop III initial mass function (IMF) models toward the high-mass end of the allowed range. For models that extend the metal-enriched IMF to 500 M ⊙ , the likelihood of Earendel being a Pop III star stays at the few to 10% level. We discuss the implications of such a discoverymore »for the overall endeavor to probe the hitherto so elusive first stars in the universe.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023

    Self-interacting dark matter (SIDM) models offer one way to reconcile inconsistencies between observations and predictions from collisionless cold dark matter (CDM) models on dwarf-galaxy scales. In order to incorporate the effects of both baryonic and SIDM interactions, we study a suite of cosmological-baryonic simulations of Milky-Way (MW)-mass galaxies from the Feedback in Realistic Environments (FIRE-2) project where we vary the SIDM self-interaction cross-section σ/m. We compare the shape of the main dark matter (DM) halo at redshift z = 0 predicted by SIDM simulations (at σ/m = 0.1, 1, and 10 cm2 g−1) with CDM simulations using the same initial conditions. In the presence of baryonic feedback effects, we find that SIDM models do not produce the large differences in the inner structure of MW-mass galaxies predicted by SIDM-only models. However, we do find that the radius where the shape of the total mass distribution begins to differ from that of the stellar mass distribution is dependent on σ/m. This transition could potentially be used to set limits on the SIDM cross-section in the MW.


    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 ormore »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.

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  4. ABSTRACT Characterizing the predicted environments of dwarf galaxies like the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) is becoming increasingly important as next-generation surveys push sensitivity limits into this low-mass regime at cosmological distances. We study the environmental effects of LMC-mass haloes (M200m ∼ 1011 M⊙) on their populations of satellites (M⋆ ≥ 104 M⊙) using a suite of zoom-in simulations from the Feedback In Realistic Environments (FIRE) project. Our simulations predict significant hot coronas with T ∼ 105 K and Mgas ∼ 109.5 M⊙. We identify signatures of environmental quenching in dwarf satellite galaxies, particularly for satellites with intermediate mass (M⋆ = 106–107 M⊙). The gas content of such objects indicates ram pressure as the likely quenching mechanism, sometimes aided by star formation feedback. Satellites of LMC-mass hosts replicate the stellar mass dependence of the quiescent fraction found in satellites of Milky Way-mass hosts (i.e. that the quiescent fraction increases as stellar mass decreases). Satellites of LMC-mass hosts have a wider variety of quenching times when compared to the strongly bimodal distribution of quenching times of nearby centrals. Finally, we identify significant tidal stellar structures around four of our six LMC analogues, suggesting that stellar streams may be common. These tidal features originatedmore »from satellites on close orbits, extend to ∼80 kpc from the central galaxy, and contain ∼106–107 M⊙ of stars.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 6, 2023
  5. 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.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  6. ABSTRACT Planck data provide precise constraints on cosmological parameters when assuming the base ΛCDM model, including a 0.17 per cent measurement of the age of the Universe, $t_0=13.797 \pm 0.023\, {\rm Gyr}$. However, the persistence of the ‘Hubble tension’ calls the base ΛCDM model’s completeness into question and has spurred interest in models such as early dark energy (EDE) that modify the assumed expansion history of the Universe. We investigate the effect of EDE on the redshift–time relation z↔t and find that it differs from the base ΛCDM model by at least ${\approx } 4{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ at all t and z. As long as EDE remains observationally viable, any inferred t ← z or z ← t quoted to a higher level of precision do not reflect the current status of our understanding of cosmology. This uncertainty has important astrophysical implications: the reionization epoch – 10 > z > 6 – corresponds to disjoint lookback time periods in the base ΛCDM and EDE models, and the EDE value of t0 = 13.25 ± 0.17 Gyr is in tension with published ages of some stars, star clusters, and ultrafaint dwarf galaxies. However, most published stellar ages do not include an uncertainty in accuracy (due to, e.g. uncertainmore »distances and stellar physics) that is estimated to be $\sim 7\!-\!10{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$, potentially reconciling stellar ages with $t_{0,\rm EDE}$. We discuss how the big data era for stars is providing extremely precise ages ($\lt 1{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$) and how improved distances and treatment of stellar physics such as convection could result in ages accurate to $4\!-\!5{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$, comparable to the current accuracy of t↔z. Such precise and accurate stellar ages can provide detailed insight into the high-redshift Universe independent of a cosmological model.« less
  7. Abstract

    The formation of globular clusters and their relation to the distribution of dark matter have long puzzled astronomers. One of the most recently proposed globular cluster formation channels ties ancient star clusters to the large-scale streaming velocity of baryons relative to dark matter in the early universe. These streaming velocities affect the global infall of baryons into dark matter halos, the high-redshift halo mass function, and the earliest generations of stars. In some cases, streaming velocities may result in dense regions of dark matter-free gas that becomes Jeans unstable, potentially leading to the formation of compact star clusters. We investigate this hypothesis using cosmological hydrodynamical simulations that include a full chemical network and the formation and destruction of H2, a process crucial for the formation of the first stars. We find that high-density gas in regions with significant streaming velocities is indeed somewhat offset from the centers of dark matter halos, but this offset is typically significantly smaller than the virial radius. Gas outside of dark matter halos never reaches Jeans-unstable densities in our simulations. We postulate that low-level (Z≈ 10−3Z) metal enrichment by Population III supernovae may enable cooling in the extra-virial regions, allowing gas outside of darkmore »matter halos to cool to the cosmic microwave background temperature and become Jeans unstable. Follow-up simulations that include both streaming velocities and metal enrichment by Population III supernovae are needed to understand if streaming velocities provide one path for the formation of globular clusters in the early universe.

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  8. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT We present the first set of cosmological baryonic zoom-in simulations of galaxies including dissipative self-interacting dark matter (dSIDM). These simulations utilize the Feedback In Realistic Environments galaxy formation physics, but allow the dark matter to have dissipative self-interactions analogous to standard model forces, parametrized by the self-interaction cross-section per unit mass, (σ/m), and the dimensionless degree of dissipation, 0 < fdiss < 1. We survey this parameter space, including constant and velocity-dependent cross-sections, and focus on structural and kinematic properties of dwarf galaxies with $M_{\rm halo} \sim 10^{10-11}{\, \rm M_\odot }$ and $M_{\ast } \sim 10^{5-8}{\, \rm M_\odot }$. Central density profiles (parametrized as ρ ∝ rα) of simulated dwarfs become cuspy when $(\sigma /m)_{\rm eff} \gtrsim 0.1\, {\rm cm^{2}\, g^{-1}}$ (and fdiss = 0.5 as fiducial). The power-law slopes asymptote to α ≈ −1.5 in low-mass dwarfs independent of cross-section, which arises from a dark matter ‘cooling flow’. Through comparisons with dark matter only simulations, we find the profile in this regime is insensitive to the inclusion of baryons. However, when $(\sigma /m)_{\rm eff} \ll 0.1\, {\rm cm^{2}\, g^{-1}}$, baryonic effects can produce cored density profiles comparable to non-dissipative cold dark matter (CDM) runs but at smaller radii. Simulated galaxies withmore »$(\sigma /m) \gtrsim 10\, {\rm cm^{2}\, g^{-1}}$ and the fiducial fdiss develop significant coherent rotation of dark matter, accompanied by halo deformation, but this is unlike the well-defined thin ‘dark discs’ often attributed to baryon-like dSIDM. The density profiles in this high cross-section model exhibit lower normalizations given the onset of halo deformation. For our surveyed dSIDM parameters, halo masses and galaxy stellar masses do not show appreciable difference from CDM, but dark matter kinematics and halo concentrations/shapes can differ.« less
  9. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  10. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT We present a suite of baryonic cosmological zoom-in simulations of self-interacting dark matter (SIDM) haloes within the ‘Feedback In Realistic Environment’ (FIRE) project. The three simulated haloes have virial masses of $\sim 10^{12}\, \text{M}_\odot$ at z = 0, and we study velocity-independent self-interaction cross sections of 1 and 10 ${\rm cm^2 \, g^{-1}}$. We study star formation rates and the shape of dark matter density profiles of the parent haloes in both cold dark matter (CDM) and SIDM models. Galaxies formed in the SIDM haloes have higher star formation rates at z ≤ 1, resulting in more massive galaxies compared to the CDM simulations. While both CDM and SIDM simulations show diverse shape of the dark matter density profiles, the SIDM haloes can reach higher and more steep central densities within few kpcs compared to the CDM haloes. We identify a correlation between the build-up of the stars within the half-mass radii of the galaxies and the growth in the central dark matter densities. The thermalization process in the SIDM haloes is enhanced in the presence of a dense stellar component. Hence, SIDM haloes with highly concentrated baryonic profiles are predicted to have higher central dark matter densities thanmore »the CDM haloes. Overall, the SIDM haloes are more responsive to the presence of a massive baryonic distribution than their CDM counterparts.« less