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  1. ABSTRACT

    Cosmic rays (CRs) may drive outflows and alter the phase structure of the circumgalactic medium, with potentially important implications on galaxy formation. However, these effects ultimately depend on the dominant mode of transport of CRs within and around galaxies, which remains highly uncertain. To explore potential observable constraints on CR transport, we investigate a set of cosmological fire-2 CR-magnetohydrodynamic simulations of L* galaxies which evolve CRs with transport models motivated by self-confinement (SC) and extrinsic turbulence (ET) paradigms. To first order, the synchrotron properties diverge between SC and ET models due to a CR physics-driven hysteresis. SC models show a higher tendency to undergo ‘ejective’ feedback events due to a runaway buildup of CR pressure in dense gas due to the behaviour of SC transport scalings at extremal CR energy densities. The corresponding CR wind-driven hysteresis results in brighter, smoother, and more extended synchrotron emission in SC runs relative to ET and constant diffusion runs. The differences in synchrotron arise from different morphology, interstellar medium gas, and B properties, potentially ruling out SC as the dominant mode of CR transport in typical star-forming L* galaxies, and indicating the prospect for non-thermal radio continuum observations to constrain CR transport physics.

     
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  2. Abstract

    The interaction between the supersonic motion of the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) and the circumgalactic medium (CGM) is expected to result in a bow shock that leads the LMC’s gaseous disk. In this letter, we use hydrodynamic simulations of the LMC’s recent infall to predict the extent of this shock and its effect on the Milky Way’s (MW) CGM. The simulations clearly predict the existence of an asymmetric shock with a present-day standoff radius of ∼6.7 kpc and a transverse diameter of ∼30 kpc. Over the past 500 Myr, ∼8% of the MW’s CGM in the southern hemisphere should have interacted with the shock front. This interaction may have had the effect of smoothing over inhomogeneities and increasing mixing in the MW CGM. We find observational evidence of the existence of the bow shock in recent Hαmaps of the LMC, providing a potential explanation for the envelope of ionized gas surrounding the LMC. Furthermore, the interaction of the bow shock with the MW CGM may also explain the observations of ionized gas surrounding the Magellanic Stream. Using recent orbital histories of MW satellites, we find that many satellites have likely interacted with the LMC shock. Additionally, the dwarf galaxy Ret2 is currently sitting inside the shock, which may impact the interpretation of the reported gamma-ray excess in Ret2. This work highlights how bow shocks associated with infalling satellites are an underexplored yet potentially very important dynamical mixing process in the circumgalactic and intracluster media.

     
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  3. ABSTRACT

    Synchrotron emission is one of few observable tracers of galactic magnetic fields (B) and cosmic rays (CRs). Much of our understanding of B in galaxies comes from utilizing synchrotron observations in conjunction with several simplifying assumptions of equipartition models, however, it remains unclear how well these assumptions hold, and what B these estimates physically represent. Using Feedback in Realistic Environments project simulations which self-consistently evolve CR proton, electron, and positron spectra from MeV to TeV energies, we present the first synthetic synchrotron emission predictions from simulated L* galaxies with ‘live’ spectrally resolved CR-magnetohydrodynamic. We find that synchrotron emission can be dominated by relatively cool and dense gas, resulting in equipartition estimates of B with fiducial assumptions underestimating the ‘true’ B in the gas that contributes the most emission by factors of 2–3 due to small volume-filling factors. Motivated by our results, we present an analytical framework that expands upon equipartition models for estimating B in a multiphase medium. Comparing our spectrally resolved synchrotron predictions to simpler spectral assumptions used in galaxy simulations with CRs, we find that spectral evolution can be crucial for accurate synchrotron calculations towards galactic centres, where loss terms are large.

     
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  4. ABSTRACT

    Recent theoretical studies predict that the circumgalactic medium (CGM) around low-redshift, ∼L* galaxies could have substantial non-thermal pressure support in the form of cosmic rays. However, these predictions are sensitive to the specific model of cosmic ray transport employed, which is theoretically and observationally underconstrained. In this work, we propose a novel observational constraint for calculating the lower limit of the radially averaged, effective cosmic ray transport rate, ${\kappa _{\rm eff}^{\rm min}}$. Under a wide range of assumptions (so long as cosmic rays do not lose a significant fraction of their energy in the galactic disc, regardless of whether the cosmic ray pressure is important or not in the CGM), we demonstrate a well-defined relationship between ${\kappa _{\rm eff}^{\rm min}}$ and three observable galaxy properties: the total hydrogen column density, the average star formation rate, and the gas circular velocity. We use a suite of Feedback in Realistic Environments 2 galaxy simulations with a variety of cosmic ray transport physics to demonstrate that our analytical model of ${\kappa _{\rm eff}^{\rm min}}$ is a robust lower limit of the true cosmic ray transport rate. We then apply our new model to calculate ${\kappa _{\rm eff}^{\rm min}}$ for galaxies in the COS-Halos sample, and confirm this already reveals strong evidence for an effective transport rate that rises rapidly away from the interstellar medium to values ${\kappa _{\rm eff}^{\rm min}}\gtrsim 10^{30\!-\!31}\, {\rm cm}^2\, {\rm s}^{-1}$ (corresponding to anisotropic streaming velocities of $v^{\rm stream}_{\rm eff} \gtrsim 1000\, {\rm km}\, {\rm s}^{-1}$) in the diffuse CGM, at impact parameters larger than 50–100 kpc. We discuss how future observations can provide qualitatively new constraints in our understanding of cosmic rays in the CGM and intergalactic medium.

     
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  5. Abstract

    We analyze the circumgalactic medium (CGM) for eight commonly-used cosmological codes in the AGORA collaboration. The codes are calibrated to use identical initial conditions, cosmology, heating and cooling, and star formation thresholds, but each evolves with its own unique code architecture and stellar feedback implementation. Here, we analyze the results of these simulations in terms of the structure, composition, and phase dynamics of the CGM. We show properties such as metal distribution, ionization levels, and kinematics are effective tracers of the effects of the different code feedback and implementation methods, and as such they can be highly divergent between simulations. This is merely a fiducial set of models, against which we will in the future compare multiple feedback recipes for each code. Nevertheless, we find that the large parameter space these simulations establish can help disentangle the different variables that affect observable quantities in the CGM, e.g., showing that abundances for ions with higher ionization energy are more strongly determined by the simulation’s metallicity, while abundances for ions with lower ionization energy are more strongly determined by the gas density and temperature.

     
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  6. Abstract We describe a public data release of the FIRE-2 cosmological zoom-in simulations of galaxy formation (available at http://flathub.flatironinstitute.org/fire ) from the Feedback In Realistic Environments (FIRE) project. FIRE-2 simulations achieve parsec-scale resolution to explicitly model the multiphase interstellar medium while implementing direct models for stellar evolution and feedback, including stellar winds, core-collapse and Type Ia supernovae, radiation pressure, photoionization, and photoelectric heating. We release complete snapshots from three suites of simulations. The first comprises 20 simulations that zoom in on 14 Milky Way (MW)–mass galaxies, five SMC/LMC-mass galaxies, and four lower-mass galaxies including one ultrafaint; we release 39 snapshots across z = 0–10. The second comprises four massive galaxies, with 19 snapshots across z = 1–10. Finally, a high-redshift suite comprises 22 simulations, with 11 snapshots across z = 5–10. Each simulation also includes dozens of resolved lower-mass (satellite) galaxies in its zoom-in region. Snapshots include all stored properties for all dark matter, gas, and star particles, including 11 elemental abundances for stars and gas, and formation times (ages) of star particles. We also release accompanying (sub)halo catalogs, which include galaxy properties and member star particles. For the simulations to z = 0, including all MW-mass galaxies, we release the formation coordinates and an “ex situ” flag for all star particles, pointers to track particles across snapshots, catalogs of stellar streams, and multipole basis expansions for the halo mass distributions. We describe publicly available python packages for reading and analyzing these simulations. 
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  7. 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, 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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  8. 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 about 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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  9. 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 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.

     
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  10. 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 demonstrates 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. 
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