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  1. ABSTRACT

    Models for cosmic ray (CR) dynamics fundamentally depend on the rate of CR scattering from magnetic fluctuations. In the ISM, for CRs with energies ∼MeV-TeV, these fluctuations are usually attributed either to ‘extrinsic turbulence’ (ET) – a cascade from larger scales – or ‘self-confinement’ (SC) – self-generated fluctuations from CR streaming. Using simple analytic arguments and detailed ‘live’ numerical CR transport calculations in galaxy simulations, we show that both of these, in standard form, cannot explain even basic qualitative features of observed CR spectra. For ET, any spectrum that obeys critical balance or features realistic anisotropy, or any spectrum that accounts for finite damping below the dissipation scale, predicts qualitatively incorrect spectral shapes and scalings of B/C and other species. Even if somehow one ignored both anisotropy and damping, observationally required scattering rates disagree with ET predictions by orders of magnitude. For SC, the dependence of driving on CR energy density means that it is nearly impossible to recover observed CR spectral shapes and scalings, and again there is an orders-of-magnitude normalization problem. But more severely, SC solutions with super-Alfvénic streaming are unstable. In live simulations, they revert to either arbitrarily rapid CR escape with zero secondary production, ormore »to bottleneck solutions with far-too-strong CR confinement and secondary production. Resolving these fundamental issues without discarding basic plasma processes requires invoking different drivers for scattering fluctuations. These must act on a broad range of scales with a power spectrum obeying several specific (but plausible) constraints.

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  2. ABSTRACT

    A reduced speed-of-light (RSOL) approximation is a useful technique for magnetohydrodynamic (MHD)-particle-in-cell (PIC) simulations. With an RSOL, some ‘in-code’ speed-of-light $\tilde{c}$ is set to much lower values than the true c, allowing simulations to take larger time-steps (which are restricted by the Courant condition given the large CR speeds). However, due to the absence of a well-formulated RSOL implementation from the literature, with naive substitution of the true c with a RSOL, the CR properties in MHD-PIC simulations (e.g. CR energy or momentum density, gyro radius) vary artificially with respect to each other and with respect to the converged ($\tilde{c} \rightarrow c$) solutions, with different choices of a RSOL. Here, we derive a new formulation of the MHD-PIC equations with an RSOL and show that (1) it guarantees all steady-state properties of the CR distribution function, and background plasma/MHD quantities are independent of the RSOL $\tilde{c}$ even for $\tilde{c} \ll c$; (2) it ensures that the simulation can simultaneously represent the real physical values of CR number, mass, momentum, and energy density; (3) it retains the correct physical meaning of various terms like the electric field; and (4) it ensures the numerical time-step for CRs can always be safely increasedmore »by a factor $\sim c/\tilde{c}$. This new RSOL formulation should enable greater self-consistency and reduced CPU cost in simulations of CR–MHD interactions.

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  3. ABSTRACT

    Accurately reproducing the thin cold gas discs observed in nearby spiral galaxies has been a long standing issue in cosmological simulations. Here, we present measurements of the radially resolved H i scale height in 22 non-interacting Milky Way-mass galaxies from the FIREbox cosmological volume. We measure the H i scale heights using five different approaches commonly used in the literature: fitting the vertical volume density distribution with a Gaussian, the distance between maximum and half-maximum of the vertical volume density distribution, a semi-empirical description using the velocity dispersion and the galactic gravitational potential, the analytic assumption of hydrostatic equilibrium, and the distance from the midplane which encloses ≳60 per cent of the H i mass. We find median H i scale heights, measured using the vertical volume distribution, that range from ∼100 pc in the galactic centres to ∼800 pc in the outskirts and are in excellent agreement with recent observational results. We speculate that the presence of a realistic multiphase interstellar medium, including cold gas, and realistic stellar feedback are the drivers behind the realistic H i scale heights.

  4. Abstract Type Ia supernovae are critical for feedback and elemental enrichment in galaxies. Recent surveys like the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernova (ASAS-SN) and the Dark Energy Survey (DES) find that the specific supernova Ia rate at z ∼ 0 may be ≲ 20 − 50 × higher in lower-mass galaxies than at Milky Way-mass. Independently, observations show that the close-binary fraction of solar-type Milky Way stars is higher at lower metallicity. Motivated by these observations, we use the FIRE-2 cosmological zoom-in simulations to explore the impact of metallicity-dependent rate models on galaxies of $M_* \sim 10^7\, \rm {M}_{\odot }-10^{11}\, \rm {M}_{\odot }$. First, we benchmark our simulated star-formation histories (SFHs) against observations, and show that assumed stellar mass functions play a major role in determining the degree of tension between observations and metallicity-independent rate models, potentially causing ASAS-SN and DES observations to agree more than might appear. Models in which the supernova Ia rate increases with decreasing metallicity ($\propto Z^{-0.5 \; \rm {to} \; -1}$) provide significantly better agreement with observations. Encouragingly, these rate increases (≳ 10 × in low-mass galaxies) do not significantly impact galaxy masses and morphologies, which remain largely unaffected except for our most extreme models.more »We explore implications for both [Fe/H] and [$\alpha /\rm {Fe}$] enrichment; metallicity-dependent rate models can improve agreement with the observed stellar mass-metallicity relations in low-mass galaxies. Our results demonstrate that a range of metallicity-dependent rate models are viable for galaxy formation and motivate future work.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 10, 2023
  5. ABSTRACT We present an analysis of spatially resolved gas-phase metallicity relations in five dwarf galaxies ($\rm \mathit{M}_{halo} \approx 10^{11}\, {\rm M}_\odot$, $\rm \mathit{M}_\star \approx 10^{8.8}{-}10^{9.6}\, {\rm M}_\odot$) from the FIRE-2 (Feedback in Realistic Environments) cosmological zoom-in simulation suite, which include an explicit model for sub-grid turbulent mixing of metals in gas, near z ≈ 0, over a period of 1.4 Gyr, and compare our findings with observations. While these dwarf galaxies represent a diverse sample, we find that all simulated galaxies match the observed mass–metallicity (MZR) and mass–metallicity gradient (MZGR) relations. We note that in all five galaxies, the metallicities are effectively identical between phases of the interstellar medium (ISM), with 95 ${{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ of the gas being within ±0.1 dex between the cold and dense gas (T < 500 K and nH > 1 cm−3), ionized gas (near the H αT ≈ 104 K ridge-line), and nebular regions (ionized gas where the 10 Myr-averaged star formation rate is non-zero). We find that most of the scatter in relative metallicity between cold dense gas and ionized gas/nebular regions can be attributed to either local starburst events or metal-poor inflows. We also note the presence of a major merger in one of our galaxies,more »m11e, with a substantial impact on the metallicity distribution in the spatially resolved map, showing two strong metallicity peaks and triggering a starburst in the main galaxy.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 5, 2023
  6. ABSTRACT

    In dusty cool-star outflow or ejection events around asymptotic giant branch (AGB) or R Coronae Borealis or RCB-like stars, dust is accelerated by radiation from the star and coupled to the gas via collisional drag forces. It has recently been shown that such dust-gas mixtures are unstable to a super-class of instabilities called the resonant drag instabilities (RDIs), which promote dust clustering. We therefore consider idealized simulations of the RDIs operating on a spectrum of dust grain sizes subject to radiative acceleration (allowing for different grain optical properties), coupled to the gas with a realistic drag law, including or excluding the effects of magnetic fields and charged grains, and calculate for the first time how the RDIs could contribute to observed variability. We show that the RDIs naturally produce significant variations (spatially and temporally) ($\sim 10\!-\!20{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ 1 σ-level) in the extinction, corresponding to $\sim 0.1\!-\!1\,$mag level in the stellar types above, on time-scales of order months to a year. The fluctuations are surprisingly robust to the assumed size of the source as they are dominated by large-scale modes, which also means their spatial structure could be resolved in some nearby systems. We also quantify how this producesmore »variations in the line-of-sight grain size-distribution. All of these variations are similar to those observed, suggesting that the RDIs may play a key role driving observed spatial and temporal variability in dust extinction within dusty outflow/ejection events around cool stars. We further propose that the measured variations in grain sizes could directly be used to identify the presence of the RDIs in close by systems with observations.

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  7. ABSTRACT We investigate the possibility of cosmic ray (CR) confinement by charged dust grains through resonant drag instabilities (RDIs). We perform magnetohydrodynamic particle-in-cell simulations of magnetized gas mixed with charged dust and cosmic rays, with the gyro-radii of dust and GeV CRs on ∼au scales fully resolved. As a first study, we focus on one type of RDI wherein charged grains drift super-Alfvénically, with Lorentz forces strongly dominating over drag forces. Dust grains are unstable to the RDIs and form concentrated columns and sheets, whose scale grows until saturating at the simulation box size. Initially perfectly streaming CRs are strongly scattered by RDI-excited Alfvén waves, with the growth rate of the CR perpendicular velocity components equaling the growth rate of magnetic field perturbations. These rates are well-predicted by analytic linear theory. CRs finally become isotropized and drift at least at ∼vA by unidirectional Alfvén waves excited by the RDIs, with a uniform distribution of the pitch angle cosine μ and a flat profile of the CR pitch angle diffusion coefficient Dμμ around μ = 0, without the ‘90○ pitch angle problem.’ With CR feedback on the gas included, Dμμ decreases by a factor of a few, indicating a lower CRmore »scattering rate, because the backreaction on the RDI from the CR pressure adds extra wave damping, leading to lower quasi-steady-state scattering rates. Our study demonstrates that the dust-induced CR confinement can be very important under certain conditions, e.g. the dusty circumgalactic medium around quasars or superluminous galaxies.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 21, 2023
  8. ABSTRACT

    Cosmic rays (CRs) are an important component in the interstellar medium, but their effect on the dynamics of the disc–halo interface (<10 kpc from the disc) is still unclear. We study the influence of CRs on the gas above the disc with high-resolution FIRE-2 cosmological simulations of late-type L⋆ galaxies at redshift z ∼ 0. We compare runs with and without CR feedback (with constant anisotropic diffusion κ∥ ∼ 3 × 1029 cm2 s−1 and streaming). Our simulations capture the relevant disc–halo interactions, including outflows, inflows, and galactic fountains. Extra-planar gas in all of the runs satisfies dynamical balance, where total pressure balances the weight of the overlying gas. While the kinetic pressure from non-uniform motion (≳1 kpc scale) dominates in the mid-plane, thermal and bulk pressures (or CR pressure if included) take over at large heights. We find that with CR feedback, (1) the warm (∼104 K) gas is slowly accelerated by CRs; (2) the hot (>5 × 105 K) gas scale height is suppressed; (3) the warm-hot (2 × 104–5 × 105 K) medium becomes the most volume-filling phase in the disc–halo interface. We develop a novel conceptual model of the near-disc gas dynamics in low-redshift L⋆ galaxies: with CRs, the disc–halo interface is filled with CR-driven warm winds and hotmore »superbubbles that are propagating into the circumgalactic medium with a small fraction falling back to the disc. Without CRs, most outflows from hot superbubbles are trapped by the existing hot halo and gravity, so typically they form galactic fountains.

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  9. ABSTRACT

    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.

  10. 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.

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