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  1. Abstract

    We present the KODIAQ-Z survey aimed to characterize the cool, photoionized gas at 2.2 ≲z≲ 3.6 in 202 Hi-selected absorbers with 14.6 ≤logNHI< 20 that probe the interface between galaxies and the intergalactic medium (IGM). We find that gas with14.6logNHI<20at 2.2 ≲z≲ 3.6 can be metal-rich (−1.6 ≲ [X/H] ≲ − 0.2) as seen in damped Lyαabsorbers (DLAs); it can also be very metal-poor ([X/H] < − 2.4) or even pristine ([X/H] < − 3.8), which is not observed in DLAs but is common in the IGM. For16<logNHI<20absorbers, the frequency of pristine absorbers is about 1%–10%, while for14.6logNHI16absorbers it is 10%–20%, similar to the diffuse IGM. Supersolar gas is extremely rare (<1%) at these redshifts. The factor of several thousand spread from the lowest to highest metallicities and large metallicity variations (a factor of a few to >100) between absorbers separated by less than Δv< 500 km s−1imply that the metals are poorly mixed in14.6logNHI<20gas. We show that these photoionized absorbers contribute to aboutmore »14% of the cosmic baryons and 45% of the cosmic metals at 2.2 ≲z≲ 3.6. We find that the mean metallicity increases withNHi, consistent with what is found inz< 1 gas. The metallicity of gas in this column density regime has increased by a factor ∼8 from 2.2 ≲z≲ 3.6 toz< 1, but the contribution of the14.6logNHI<19absorbers to the total metal budget of the universe atz< 1 is a quarter of that at 2.2 ≲z≲ 3.6. We show that FOGGIE cosmological zoom-in simulations have a similar evolution of [X/H] withNHi, which is not observed in lower-resolution simulations. In these simulations, very metal-poor absorbers with [X/H] < − 2.4 atz∼ 2–3 are tracers of inflows, while higher-metallicity absorbers are a mixture of inflows and outflows.

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  2. Abstract

    We use hydrodynamical simulations of two Milky Way–mass galaxies to demonstrate the impact of cosmic-ray pressure on the kinematics of cool and warm circumgalactic gas. Consistent with previous studies, we find that cosmic-ray pressure can dominate over thermal pressure in the inner 50 kpc of the circumgalactic medium (CGM), creating an overall cooler CGM than that of similar galaxy simulations run without cosmic rays. We generate synthetic sight lines of the simulated galaxies’ CGM and use Voigt profile-fitting methods to extract ion column densities, Doppler-bparameters, and velocity centroids of individual absorbers. We directly compare these synthetic spectral line fits with HST/COS CGM absorption-line data analyses, which tend to show that metallic species with a wide range of ionization potential energies are often kinematically aligned. Compared to the Milky Way simulation run without cosmic rays, the presence of cosmic-ray pressure in the inner CGM creates narrower Oviabsorption features and broader Siiiiabsorption features, a quality that is more consistent with observational data. Additionally, because the cool gas is buoyant due to nonthermal cosmic-ray pressure support, the velocity centroids of both cool and warm gas tend to align in the simulated Milky Way with feedback from cosmic rays. Our study demonstrates thatmore »detailed, direct comparisons between simulations and observations, focused on gas kinematics, have the potential to reveal the dominant physical mechanisms that shape the CGM.

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  3. We use hydrodynamical simulations of two Milky Way-mass galaxies to demonstrate the impact of cosmic-ray pressure on the kinematics of cool and warm circumgalactic gas. Consistent with previous studies, we find that cosmic-ray pressure can dominate over thermal pressure in the inner 50 kpc of the circumgalactic medium (CGM), creating an overall cooler CGM than that of similar galaxy simulations run without cosmic rays. We generate synthetic sightlines of the simulated galaxies' CGM and use Voigt profile fitting methods to extract ion column densities, Doppler-b parameters, and velocity centroids of individual absorbers. We directly compare these synthetic spectral line fits with HST/COS CGM absorption-line data analyses, which tend to show that metallic species with a wide range of ionization potential energies are often kinematically aligned. Compared to the Milky-Way simulation run without cosmic rays, the presence of cosmic-ray pressure in the inner CGM creates narrower OVI absorption features and broader SiIII absorption features, a quality which is more consistent with observational data. Additionally, because the cool gas is buoyant due to nonthermal cosmic-ray pressure support, the velocity centroids of both cool and warm gas tend to align in the simulated Milky Way with feedback from cosmic rays. Our study demonstratesmore »that detailed, direct comparisons between simulations and observations, focused on gas kinematics, have the potential to reveal the dominant physical mechanisms that shape the CGM.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2023
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  5. Abstract

    The thermal Sunyaev–Zel’dovich (tSZ) effect is a powerful tool with the potential for constraining directly the properties of the hot gas that dominates dark matter halos because it measures pressure and thus thermal energy density. Studying this hot component of the circumgalactic medium (CGM) is important because it is strongly impacted by star formation and active galactic nucleus (AGN) activity in galaxies, participating in the feedback loop that regulates star and black hole mass growth in galaxies. We study the tSZ effect across a wide halo-mass range using three cosmological hydrodynamical simulations: Illustris-TNG, EAGLE, and FIRE-2. Specifically, we present the scaling relation between the tSZ signal and halo mass and the (mass-weighted) radial profiles of gas density, temperature, and pressure for all three simulations. The analysis includes comparisons to Planck tSZ observations and to the thermal pressure profile inferred from the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) measurements. We compare these tSZ data to simulations to interpret the measurements in terms of feedback and accretion processes in the CGM. We also identify as-yet unobserved potential signatures of these processes that may be visible in future measurements, which will have the capability of measuring tSZ signals to even lower masses. We alsomore »perform internal comparisons between runs with different physical assumptions. We conclude (1) there is strong evidence for the impact of feedback atR500, but that this impact decreases by 5R500, and (2) the thermodynamic profiles of the CGM are highly dependent on the implemented model, such as cosmic-ray or AGN feedback prescriptions.

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  6. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT We study the impact of cosmic rays (CRs) on the structure of virial shocks, using a large suite of high-resolution cosmological FIRE-2 simulations accounting for CR injection by supernovae. In Milky Way-mass, low-redshift (z ≲ 1−2) haloes, which are expected to form ‘hot haloes’ with slowly cooling gas in quasi-hydrostatic equilibrium (with a stable virial shock), our simulations without CRs do exhibit clear virial shocks. The cooler phase condensing out from inflows becomes pressure confined to overdense clumps, embedded in low-density, volume-filling hot gas with volume-weighted cooling time longer than inflow time. The gas thus transitions sharply from cool free-falling inflow, to hot and thermal-pressure supported at approximately the virial radius (≈Rvir), and the shock is quasi-spherical. With CRs, we previously argued that haloes in this particular mass and redshift range build up CR-pressure-dominated gaseous haloes. Here, we show that when CR pressure dominates over thermal pressure, there is no significant virial shock. Instead, inflowing gas is gradually decelerated by the CR pressure gradient and the gas is relatively subsonic out to and even beyond Rvir. Rapid cooling also maintains subvirial temperatures in the inflowing gas within ∼Rvir.
  7. null (Ed.)
    Abstract We study the effects of cosmic rays (CRs) on outflows from star-forming galaxies in the circum and inter-galactic medium (CGM/IGM), in high-resolution, fully-cosmological FIRE-2 simulations (accounting for mechanical and radiative stellar feedback, magnetic fields, anisotropic conduction/viscosity/CR diffusion and streaming, and CR losses). We showed previously that massive (Mhalo ≳ 1011 M⊙), low-redshift (z ≲ 1 − 2) halos can have CR pressure dominate over thermal CGM pressure and balance gravity, giving rise to a cooler CGM with an equilibrium density profile. This dramatically alters outflows. Absent CRs, high gas thermal pressure in massive halos “traps” galactic outflows near the disk, so they recycle. With CRs injected in supernovae as modeled here, the low-pressure halo allows “escape” and CR pressure gradients continuously accelerate this material well into the IGM in “fast” outflows, while lower-density gas at large radii is accelerated in-situ into “slow” outflows that extend to >Mpc scales. CGM/IGM outflow morphologies are radically altered: they become mostly volume-filling (with inflow in a thin mid-plane layer) and coherently biconical from the disk to >Mpc. The CR-driven outflows are primarily cool (T ∼ 105 K) and low-velocity. All of these effects weaken and eventually vanish at lower halo masses (≲ 1011 M⊙) or highermore »redshifts (z ≳ 1 − 2), reflecting the ratio of CR to thermal+gravitational pressure in the outer halo. We present a simple analytic model which explains all of the above phenomena. We caution that these predictions may depend on uncertain CR transport physics.« less
  8. ABSTRACT Observations of ultraviolet (UV) metal absorption lines have provided insight into the structure and composition of the circumgalactic medium (CGM) around galaxies. We compare these observations with the low-redshift (z ≤ 0.3) CGM around dwarf galaxies in high-resolution cosmological zoom-in runs in the FIRE-2 (Feedback In Realistic Environments) simulation suite. We select simulated galaxies that match the halo mass, stellar mass, and redshift of the observed samples. We produce absorption measurements using trident for UV transitions of C iv, O vi, Mg ii, and Si iii. The FIRE equivalent width (EW) distributions and covering fractions for the C iv ion are broadly consistent with observations inside 0.5Rvir, but are underpredicted for O vi, Mg ii, and Si iii. The absorption strengths of the ions in the CGM are moderately correlated with the masses and star formation activity of the galaxies. The correlation strengths increase with the ionization potential of the ions. The structure and composition of the gas from the simulations exhibit three zones around dwarf galaxies characterized by distinct ion column densities: the discy interstellar medium, the inner CGM (the wind-dominated regime), and the outer CGM (the IGM accretion-dominated regime). We find that the outer CGM in the simulations is nearly but not quite supported bymore »thermal pressure, so it is not in hydrostatic equilibrium, resulting in halo-scale bulk inflow and outflow motions. The net gas inflow rates are comparable to the star formation rate of the galaxy, but the bulk inflow and outflow rates are greater by an order of magnitude, with velocities comparable to the virial velocity of the halo. These roughly virial velocities (${\sim } 100 \, \rm km\, s^{-1}$) produce large EWs in the simulations. This supports a picture for dwarf galaxies in which the dynamics of the CGM at large scales are coupled to the small-scale star formation activity near the centre of their haloes.« less
  9. ABSTRACT We investigate the impact of cosmic rays (CRs) on the circumgalactic medium (CGM) in FIRE-2 simulations, for ultra-faint dwarf through Milky Way (MW)-mass haloes hosting star-forming (SF) galaxies. Our CR treatment includes injection by supernovae, anisotropic streaming and diffusion along magnetic field lines, and collisional and streaming losses, with constant parallel diffusivity $\kappa \sim 3\times 10^{29}\, \mathrm{cm^2\ s^{-1}}$ chosen to match γ-ray observations. With this, CRs become more important at larger halo masses and lower redshifts, and dominate the pressure in the CGM in MW-mass haloes at z ≲ 1–2. The gas in these ‘CR-dominated’ haloes differs significantly from runs without CRs: the gas is primarily cool (a few ${\sim}10^{4}\,$ K), and the cool phase is volume-filling and has a thermal pressure below that needed for virial or local thermal pressure balance. Ionization of the ‘low’ and ‘mid’ ions in this diffuse cool gas is dominated by photoionization, with O vi columns ${\gtrsim}10^{14.5}\, \mathrm{cm^{-2}}$ at distances ${\gtrsim}150\, \mathrm{kpc}$. CR and thermal gas pressure are locally anticorrelated, maintaining total pressure balance, and the CGM gas density profile is determined by the balance of CR pressure gradients and gravity. Neglecting CRs, the same haloes are primarily warm/hot ($T\gtrsim 10^{5}\,$K) with thermal pressure balancing gravity,more »collisional ionization dominates, O vi columns are lower and Ne viii higher, and the cool phase is confined to dense filaments in local thermal pressure equilibrium with the hot phase.« less