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Creators/Authors contains: "Qi, Jia"

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  1. Abstract

    Elongated bar-like features are ubiquitous in galaxies, occurring at the centers of approximately two-thirds of spiral disks in the nearby Universe. Due to gravitational interactions between the bar and the other components of galaxies, it is expected that angular momentum and matter will redistribute over long (Gyr) timescales in barred galaxies. Previous work ignoring the gas phase of galaxies has conclusively demonstrated that bars should slow their rotation over time due to their interaction with dark matter halos. We have performed a simulation of a Milky Way–like galactic disk hosting a strong bar, including a state-of-the-art model of the interstellar medium and a live dark matter halo. In this simulation, the bar pattern does not slow down over time, and instead it remains at a stable, constant rate of rotation. This behavior has been observed in previous simulations using more simplified models for the interstellar gas, but the apparent lack of secular evolution has remained unexplained. We find that the presence of the gas phase arrests the process by which the dark matter halo slows down a bar, a phenomenon we term bar locking. This locking is responsible for stabilizing the bar pattern speed. We find that, in a Milky Way–like disk, a gas fraction of only about 5% is necessary for this mechanism to operate. Our result naturally explains why nearly all observed bars rotate rapidly and is especially relevant for our understanding of how the Milky Way arrived at its present state.

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    The tension between the diverging density profiles in Lambda cold dark matter simulations and the constant-density inner regions of observed galaxies is a long-standing challenge known as the ‘core–cusp’ problem. We demonstrate that the SMUGGLE galaxy formation model implemented in the arepo moving mesh code forms constant-density cores in idealized dwarf galaxies of M⋆ ≈ 8 × 107 Msun with initially cuspy dark matter (DM) haloes of M200 ≈ 1010 Msun. Identical initial conditions run with an effective equation of state interstellar medium model preserve cuspiness. Literature on the subject has pointed to the low density threshold for star formation, ρth, in such effective models as an obstacle to baryon-induced core formation. Using a SMUGGLE run with equal ρth, we demonstrate that core formation can proceed at low density thresholds, indicating that ρth is insufficient on its own to determine whether a galaxy develops a core. We reaffirm that the ability to resolve a multiphase interstellar medium at sufficiently high densities is a more reliable indicator of core formation than any individual model parameter. In SMUGGLE, core formation is accompanied by large degrees of non-circular motion, with gas rotational velocity profiles that consistently fall below the circular velocity $v_\text{circ} = \sqrt{GM/R}$ out to ∼2 kpc. Asymmetric drift corrections help recover the average underlying DM potential for some of our less efficient feedback runs, but time-variations in the instantaneous azimuthal gas velocity component are substantial, highlighting the need for careful modelling in the inner regions of dwarfs to infer the true distribution of DM.

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    We study gas inflows on to supermassive black holes using hydrodynamics simulations of isolated galaxies and idealized galaxy mergers with an explicit, multiphase interstellar medium (ISM). Our simulations use the recently developed ISM and stellar evolution model called Stars and MUltiphase Gas in GaLaxiEs (SMUGGLE). We implement a novel super-Lagrangian refinement scheme that increases the gas mass resolution in the immediate neighbourhood of the black holes (BHs) to accurately resolve gas accretion. We do not include black hole feedback in our simulations. We find that the complex and turbulent nature of the SMUGGLE ISM leads to highly variable BH accretion. BH growth in SMUGGLE converges at gas mass resolutions ≲3 × 103 M⊙. We show that the low resolution simulations combined with the super-Lagrangian refinement scheme are able to produce central gas dynamics and BH accretion rates very similar to that of the uniform high resolution simulations. We further explore BH fueling by simulating galaxy mergers. The interaction between the galaxies causes an inflow of gas towards the galactic centres and results in elevated and bursty star formation. The peak gas densities near the BHs increase by orders of magnitude resulting in enhanced accretion. Our results support the idea that galaxy mergers can trigger AGN activity, although the instantaneous accretion rate depends strongly on the local ISM. We also show that the level of merger-induced enhancement of BH fueling predicted by the SMUGGLE model is much smaller compared to the predictions by simulations using an effective equation of state model of the ISM.

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    Hydrogen emission lines can provide extensive information about star-forming galaxies in both the local and high-redshift Universe. We present a detailed Lyman continuum (LyC), Lyman-α (Lyα), and Balmer line (Hα and Hβ) radiative transfer study of a high-resolution isolated Milky Way simulation using the state-of-the-art Arepo-RT radiation hydrodynamics code with the SMUGGLE galaxy formation model. The realistic framework includes stellar feedback, non-equilibrium thermochemistry accounting for molecular hydrogen, and dust grain evolution in the interstellar medium (ISM). We extend our publicly available Cosmic Lyα Transfer (COLT) code with photoionization equilibrium Monte Carlo radiative transfer and various methodology improvements for self-consistent end-to-end (non-)resonant line predictions. Accurate LyC reprocessing to recombination emission requires modelling pre-absorption by dust ($f_\text{abs} \approx 27.5\,\rm{per\,\,cent}$), helium ionization ($f_\text{He} \approx 8.7\,\rm{per\,\,cent}$), and anisotropic escape fractions ($f_\text{esc} \approx 7.9\,\rm{per\,\,cent}$), as these reduce the available budget for hydrogen line emission ($f_\text{H} \approx 55.9\,\rm{per\,\,cent}$). We investigate the role of the multiphase dusty ISM, disc geometry, gas kinematics, and star formation activity in governing the physics of emission and escape, focusing on the time variability, gas-phase structure, and spatial spectral, and viewing angle dependence of the emergent photons. Isolated disc simulations are well-suited for comprehensive observational comparisons with local Hα surveys, but would require a proper cosmological circumgalactic medium (CGM) environment as well as less dust absorption and rotational broadening to serve as analogs for high-redshift Lyα emitting galaxies. Future applications of our framework to next-generation cosmological simulations of galaxy formation including radiation-hydrodynamics that resolve ≲10 pc multiphase ISM and ≲1 kpc CGM structures will provide crucial insights and predictions for current and upcoming Lyα observations.

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  5. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT We present the radial gas-phase, mass-weighted metallicity profiles and gradients of the TNG50 star-forming galaxy population measured at redshifts z = 0–3. We investigate the redshift evolution of gradients and examine relations between gradient (negative) steepness and galaxy properties. We find that TNG50 gradients are predominantly negative at all redshifts, although we observe significant diversity among these negative gradients. We determine that the gradients of all galaxies grow more negative with redshift at a roughly constant rate of approximately $-0.02\ \mathrm{dex\, kpc^{-1}}/\Delta z$. This rate does not vary significantly with galaxy mass. We observe a weak negative correlation between gradient (negative) steepness and galaxy stellar mass at z < 2. However, when we normalize gradients by a characteristic radius defined by the galactic star formation distribution, we find that these normalized gradients do not vary significantly with either stellar mass or redshift. We place our results in the context of previous simulations and show that TNG50 high-redshift gradients are more negative than those of models featuring burstier feedback, which may further highlight high-redshift gradients as important discriminators of galaxy formation models. We also find that z = 0 and z = 0.5 TNG50 gradients are consistent with the gradients observed in galaxies at these redshifts, although the preference for flat gradients observed in redshift z ≳ 1 galaxies is not present in TNG50. If future JWST (James Webb Space Telescope) and ELT (Extremely Large Telescope) observations validate these flat gradients, it may indicate a need for simulation models to implement more powerful radial gas mixing within the ISM (interstellar medium), possibly via turbulence and/or stronger winds. 
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  6. null (Ed.)