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  1. ABSTRACT Self-interacting dark matter (SIDM) models have received great attention over the past decade as solutions to the small-scale puzzles of astrophysics. Though there are different implementations of dark matter (DM) self-interactions in N-body codes of structure formation, there has not been a systematic study to compare the predictions of these different implementations. We investigate the implementation of dark matter self-interactions in two simulation codes:gizmo and arepo. We begin with identical initial conditions for an isolated 1010 M⊙ dark matter halo and investigate the evolution of the density and velocity dispersion profiles in gizmo and arepo for SIDM cross-section over mass of 1, 5, and 50 $\rm cm^2\, g^{-1}$. Our tests are restricted to the core expansion phase, where the core density decreases and core radius increases with time. We find better than 30 per cent agreement between the codes for the density profile in this phase of evolution, with the agreement improving at higher resolution. We find that varying code-specific SIDM parameters changes the central halo density by less than 10 per cent outside of the convergence radius. We argue that SIDM core formation is robust across the two different schemes and conclude that these codes can reliably differentiate between cross-sections of 1, 5, and 50 $\rm cm^2\,more »g^{-1}$, but finer distinctions would require further investigation.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 6, 2023
  2. 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
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  4. ABSTRACT A promising route for revealing the existence of dark matter structures on mass scales smaller than the faintest galaxies is through their effect on strong gravitational lenses. We examine the role of local, lens-proximate clustering in boosting the lensing probability relative to contributions from substructure and unclustered line-of-sight (LOS) haloes. Using two cosmological simulations that can resolve halo masses of Mhalo ≃ 109 M⊙ (in a simulation box of length $L_{\rm box}{\sim }100\, {\rm Mpc}$) and 107 M⊙ ($L_{\rm box}\sim 20\, {\rm Mpc}$), we demonstrate that clustering in the vicinity of the lens host produces a clear enhancement relative to an assumption of unclustered haloes that persists to $\gt 20\, R_{\rm vir}$. This enhancement exceeds estimates that use a two-halo term to account for clustering, particularly within $2-5\, R_{\rm vir}$. We provide an analytic expression for this excess, clustered contribution. We find that local clustering boosts the expected count of 109 M⊙ perturbing haloes by $\sim \! 35{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ compared to substructure alone, a result that will significantly enhance expected signals for low-redshift (zl ≃ 0.2) lenses, where substructure contributes substantially compared to LOS haloes. We also find that the orientation of the lens with respect to the line ofmore »sight (e.g. whether the line of sight passes through the major axis of the lens) can also have a significant effect on the lensing signal, boosting counts by an additional $\sim 50{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ compared to a random orientations. This could be important if discovered lenses are biased to be oriented along their principal axis.« less
  5. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT We investigate thin and thick stellar disc formation in Milky Way-mass galaxies using 12 FIRE-2 cosmological zoom-in simulations. All simulated galaxies experience an early period of bursty star formation that transitions to a late-time steady phase of near-constant star formation. Stars formed during the late-time steady phase have more circular orbits and thin-disc-like morphology at z = 0, while stars born during the bursty phase have more radial orbits and thick-disc structure. The median age of thick-disc stars at z = 0 correlates strongly with this transition time. We also find that galaxies with an earlier transition from bursty to steady star formation have a higher thin-disc fractions at z = 0. Three of our systems have minor mergers with Large Magellanic Cloud-size satellites during the thin-disc phase. These mergers trigger short starbursts but do not destroy the thin disc nor alter broad trends between the star formation transition time and thin/thick-disc properties. If our simulations are representative of the Universe, then stellar archaeological studies of the Milky Way (or M31) provide a window into past star formation modes in the Galaxy. Current age estimates of the Galactic thick disc would suggest that the Milky Way transitioned from bursty to steady phasemore »∼6.5 Gyr ago; prior to that time the Milky Way likely lacked a recognizable thin disc.« less
  6. ABSTRACT We investigate the spatial structure and evolution of star formation and the interstellar medium (ISM) in interacting galaxies. We use an extensive suite of parsec-scale galaxy-merger simulations (stellar mass ratio = 2.5:1), which employs the ‘Feedback In Realistic Environments-2’ model (fire-2). This framework resolves star formation, feedback processes, and the multiphase structure of the ISM. We focus on the galaxy-pair stages of interaction. We find that close encounters substantially augment cool (H i) and cold-dense (H2) gas budgets, elevating the formation of new stars as a result. This enhancement is centrally concentrated for the secondary galaxy, and more radially extended for the primary. This behaviour is weakly dependent on orbital geometry. We also find that galaxies with elevated global star formation rate (SFR) experience intense nuclear SFR enhancement, driven by high levels of either star formation efficiency (SFE) or available cold-dense gas fuel. Galaxies with suppressed global SFR also contain a nuclear cold-dense gas reservoir, but low SFE levels diminish SFR in the central region. Concretely, in the majority of cases, SFR enhancement in the central kiloparsec is fuel-driven (55 per cent for the secondary, 71 per cent for the primary) – while central SFR suppression is efficiency-driven (91 per cent for the secondary, 97 per cent formore »the primary). Our numerical predictions underscore the need of substantially larger, and/or merger-dedicated, spatially resolved galaxy surveys – capable of examining vast and diverse samples of interacting systems – coupled with multiwavelength campaigns aimed to capture their internal ISM structure.« less
  7. ABSTRACT We derive a new mass estimator that relies on internal proper motion measurements of dispersion-supported stellar systems, one that is distinct and complementary to existing estimators for line-of-sight velocities. Starting with the spherical Jeans equation, we show that there exists a radius where the mass enclosed depends only on the projected tangential velocity dispersion, assuming that the anisotropy profile slowly varies. This is well-approximated at the radius where the log-slope of the stellar tracer profile is −2: r−2. The associated mass is $M(r_{-2}) = 2 G^{-1} \langle \sigma _{\mathcal {T}}^{2}\rangle ^{*} r_{-2}$ and the circular velocity is $V^{2}({r_{-2}}) = 2\langle \sigma _{\mathcal {T}}^{2}\rangle ^{*}$. For a Plummer profile r−2 ≃ 4Re/5. Importantly, r−2 is smaller than the characteristic radius for line-of-sight velocities derived by Wolf et al. Together, the two estimators can constrain the mass profiles of dispersion-supported galaxies. We illustrate its applicability using published proper motion measurements of dwarf galaxies Draco and Sculptor, and find that they are consistent with inhabiting cuspy NFW subhaloes of the kind predicted in CDM but we cannot rule out a core. We test our combined mass estimators against previously published, non-spherical cosmological dwarf galaxy simulations done in both cold dark matter (CDM; naturallymore »cuspy profile) and self-interacting dark matter (SIDM; cored profile). For CDM, the estimates for the dynamic rotation curves are found to be accurate to $10\rm { per\, cent}$ while SIDM are accurate to $15\rm { per\, cent}$. Unfortunately, this level of accuracy is not good enough to measure slopes at the level required to distinguish between cusps and cores of the type predicted in viable SIDM models without stronger priors. However, we find that this provides good enough accuracy to distinguish between the normalization differences predicted at small radii (r ≃ r−2 < rcore) for interesting SIDM models. As the number of galaxies with internal proper motions increases, mass estimators of this kind will enable valuable constraints on SIDM and CDM models.« less
  8. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT We explore the origin of stellar metallicity gradients in simulated and observed dwarf galaxies. We use FIRE-2 cosmological baryonic zoom-in simulations of 26 isolated galaxies as well as existing observational data for 10 Local Group dwarf galaxies. Our simulated galaxies have stellar masses between 105.5 and 108.6 M⊙. Whilst gas-phase metallicty gradients are generally weak in our simulated galaxies, we find that stellar metallicity gradients are common, with central regions tending to be more metal-rich than the outer parts. The strength of the gradient is correlated with galaxy-wide median stellar age, such that galaxies with younger stellar populations have flatter gradients. Stellar metallicty gradients are set by two competing processes: (1) the steady ‘puffing’ of old, metal-poor stars by feedback-driven potential fluctuations and (2) the accretion of extended, metal-rich gas at late times, which fuels late-time metal-rich star formation. If recent star formation dominates, then extended, metal-rich star formation washes out pre-existing gradients from the ‘puffing’ process. We use published results from ten Local Group dwarf galaxies to show that a similar relationship between age and stellar metallicity-gradient strength exists among real dwarfs. This suggests that observed stellar metallicity gradients may be driven largely by the baryon/feedback cycle rather thanmore »by external environmental effects.« less
  9. ABSTRACT Understanding the rate at which stars form is central to studies of galaxy formation. Observationally, the star formation rates (SFRs) of galaxies are measured using the luminosity in different frequency bands, often under the assumption of a time-steady SFR in the recent past. We use star formation histories (SFHs) extracted from cosmological simulations of star-forming galaxies from the FIRE project to analyse the time-scales to which the H α and far-ultraviolet (FUV) continuum SFR indicators are sensitive. In these simulations, the SFRs are highly time variable for all galaxies at high redshift, and continue to be bursty to z = 0 in dwarf galaxies. When FIRE SFHs are partitioned into their bursty and time-steady phases, the best-fitting FUV time-scale fluctuates from its ∼10 Myr value when the SFR is time-steady to ≳100 Myr immediately following particularly extreme bursts of star formation during the bursty phase. On the other hand, the best-fitting averaging time-scale for H α is generally insensitive to the SFR variability in the FIRE simulations and remains ∼5 Myr at all times. These time-scales are shorter than the 100 and 10 Myr time-scales sometimes assumed in the literature for FUV and H α, respectively, because while the FUV emission persists for stellar populations oldermore »than 100 Myr, the time-dependent luminosities are strongly dominated by younger stars. Our results confirm that the ratio of SFRs inferred using H α versus FUV can be used to probe the burstiness of star formation in galaxies.« less

    We use FIRE-2 zoom cosmological simulations of Milky Way size Galaxy haloes to calculate astrophysical J-factors for dark matter annihilation and indirect detection studies. In addition to velocity-independent (s-wave) annihilation cross-sections 〈σv〉, we also calculate effective J-factors for velocity-dependent models, where the annihilation cross-section is either p-wave (∝ v2/c2) or d-wave (∝ v4/c4). We use 12 pairs of simulations, each run with dark matter-only (DMO) physics and FIRE-2 physics. We observe FIRE runs produce central dark matter velocity dispersions that are systematically larger than in DMO runs by factors of ∼2.5–4. They also have a larger range of central (∼400 pc) dark matter densities than the DMO runs (ρFIRE/ρDMO ≃ 0.5–3) owing to the competing effects of baryonic contraction and feedback. At 3 deg from the Galactic Centre, FIRE J-factors are 3–60 (p-wave) and 10–500 (d-wave) times higher than in the DMO runs. The change in s-wave signal at 3 deg is more modest and can be higher or lower (∼0.3–7), though the shape of the emission profile is flatter (less peaked towards the Galactic Centre) and more circular on the sky in FIRE runs. Our results for s-wave are broadly consistent with the range of assumptions in most indirect detection studies. We observemore »p-wave J-factors that are significantly enhanced compared to most past estimates. We find that thermal models with p-wave annihilation may be within range of detection in the near future.

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