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  1. Abstract

    Observations of local star-forming galaxies (SFGs) show a tight correlation between their singly ionized carbon line luminosity ($L_{\rm [C\, \small {II}]}$) and star formation rate (SFR), suggesting that $L_{\rm [C\, \small {II}]}$ may be a useful SFR tracer for galaxies. Some other galaxy populations, however, are found to have lower $L_{\rm [C\, \small {II}]}{}/{}\rm SFR$ than local SFGs, including the infrared-luminous, starburst galaxies at low and high redshifts as well as some moderately star-forming galaxies at the epoch of re-ionization (EoR). The origins of this ‘$\rm [C\, \small {II}]$ deficit’ is unclear. In this work, we study the $L_{\rm [C\, \small {II}]}$-SFR relation of galaxies using a sample of z = 0 − 8 galaxies with M* ≈ 107 − 5 × 1011 M⊙ extracted from cosmological volume and zoom-in simulations from the Feedback in Realistic Environments (fire) project. We find a simple analytic expression for $L_{\rm [C\, \small {II}]}$/SFR of galaxies in terms of the following parameters: mass fraction of $\rm [C\, \small {II}]$-emitting gas ($f_{\rm [C\, \small {II}]}$), gas metallicity (Zgas), gas density (ngas) and gas depletion time ($t_{\rm dep}{}={}M_{\rm gas}{}/{}\rm SFR$). We find two distinct physical regimes: $\rm H_2$-rich galaxies where tdep is the main driver of the $\rm [C\, \small {II}]$ deficit and $\rm H_2$-poor galaxies where Zgas is the main driver. The observed $\rm [C\, \small {II}]$ deficit of IR-luminous galaxies and early EoR galaxies, corresponding to the two different regimes, is due to short gas depletion time and low gas metallicity, respectively. Our result indicates that the $\rm [C\, \small {II}]$ deficit is a common phenomenon of galaxies, and caution needs to be taken when applying a constant $L_{\rm [C\, \small {II}]}$-to-SFR conversion factor derived from local SFGs to estimate cosmic SFR density at high redshifts and interpret data from upcoming $\rm [C\, \small {II}]$ line intensity mapping experiments.

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    Negative feedback from accreting supermassive black holes is considered crucial in suppressing star formation and quenching massive galaxies. However, several models and observations suggest that black hole feedback may have a positive effect, triggering star formation by compressing interstellar medium gas to higher densities. We investigate the dual role of black hole feedback using cosmological hydrodynamic simulations from the Feedback In Realistic Environment (FIRE) project, incorporating a novel implementation of hyper-refined accretion-disc winds. Focusing on a massive, star-forming galaxy at z ∼ 2 ($M_{\rm halo} \sim 10^{12.5}\, {\rm M}_{\odot }$), we demonstrate that strong quasar winds with a kinetic power of ∼1046 erg s−1, persisting for over 20 Myr, drive the formation of a central gas cavity and significantly reduce the surface density of star formation across the galaxy’s disc. The suppression of star formation primarily occurs by limiting the availability of gas for star formation rather than by evacuating the pre-existing star-forming gas reservoir (preventive feedback dominates over ejective feedback). Despite the overall negative impact of quasar winds, we identify several potential indicators of local positive feedback, including (1) the spatial anticorrelation between wind-dominated regions and star-forming clumps, (2) higher local star formation efficiency in compressed gas at the edge of the cavity, and (3) increased contribution of outflowing material to local star formation. Moreover, stars formed under the influence of quasar winds tend to be located at larger radial distances. Our findings suggest that both positive and negative AGN feedback can coexist within galaxies, although the local positive triggering of star formation has a minor influence on global galaxy growth.

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    Interstellar chemistry is important for galaxy formation, as it determines the rate at which gas can cool, and enables us to make predictions for observable spectroscopic lines from ions and molecules. We explore two central aspects of modelling the chemistry of the interstellar medium (ISM): (1) the effects of local stellar radiation, which ionizes and heats the gas, and (2) the depletion of metals on to dust grains, which reduces the abundance of metals in the gas phase. We run high-resolution (400 M⊙ per baryonic particle) simulations of isolated disc galaxies, from dwarfs to Milky Way-mass, using the fire galaxy formation models together with the chimes non-equilibrium chemistry and cooling module. In our fiducial model, we couple the chemistry to the stellar fluxes calculated from star particles using an approximate radiative transfer scheme; and we implement an empirical density-dependent prescription for metal depletion. For comparison, we also run simulations with a spatially uniform radiation field, and without metal depletion. Our fiducial model broadly reproduces observed trends in H i and H2 mass with stellar mass, and in line luminosity versus star formation rate for [C ii]$_{158 \rm {\mu m}}$, [O i]$_{63 \rm {\mu m}}$, [O iii]$_{88 \rm {\mu m}}$, [N ii]$_{122 \rm {\mu m}}$, and H α6563Å. Our simulations with a uniform radiation field predict fainter luminosities, by up to an order of magnitude for [O iii]$_{88 \rm {\mu m}}$ and H α6563Å, while ignoring metal depletion increases the luminosity of carbon and oxygen lines by a factor ≈ 2. However, the overall evolution of the galaxy is not strongly affected by local stellar fluxes or metal depletion, except in dwarf galaxies where the inclusion of local fluxes leads to weaker outflows and hence higher gas fractions.

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    Recent observations and simulations indicate substantial evolution in the properties of galaxies with time, wherein rotationally supported and steady thin discs (like those frequently observed in the local Universe) emerge from galaxies that are clumpy, irregular, and have bursty star formation rates (SFRs). To better understand the progenitors of local disc galaxies, we carry out an analysis of three FIRE-2 simulated galaxies with a mass similar to the Milky Way at redshift z = 0. We show that all three galaxies transition from bursty to steady SFRs at a redshift between z = 0.5 and z = 0.8, and that this transition coincides with the rapid (≲1 Gyr) emergence of a rotationally supported interstellar medium (ISM). In the late phase with steady SFR, the rotational energy comprises ${\gtrsim }90{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ of the total kinetic + thermal energy in the ISM, and is roughly half the gravitational energy. By contrast, during the early bursty phase, the ISM initially has a quasi-spheroidal morphology and its energetics are dominated by quasi-isotropic in- and outflows out of virial equilibrium. The subdominance of rotational support and out-of-equilibrium conditions at early times challenge the application of standard equilibrium disc models to high-redshift progenitors of Milky Way-like galaxies. We further find that the formation of a rotationally-supported ISM coincides with the onset of a thermal pressure supported inner circumgalactic medium (CGM). Before this transition, there is no clear boundary between the ISM and the inner CGM.

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  5. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Observations of emission lines in active galactic nuclei (AGNs) often find fast (∼1000 km s−1) outflows extending to kiloparsec scales, seen in ionized, neutral atomic and molecular gas. In this work we present radiative transfer calculations of emission lines in hydrodynamic simulations of AGN outflows driven by a hot wind bubble, including non-equilibrium chemistry, to explore how these lines trace the physical properties of the multiphase outflow. We find that the hot bubble compresses the line-emitting gas, resulting in higher pressures than in the ambient interstellar medium or that would be produced by the AGN radiation pressure. This implies that observed emission line ratios such as [O iv]$_{25 \, \rm {\mu m}}$ / [Ne ii]$_{12 \, \rm {\mu m}}$, [Ne v]$_{14 \, \rm {\mu m}}$ / [Ne ii]$_{12 \, \rm {\mu m}}$, and [N iii]$_{57 \, \rm {\mu m}}$ / [N ii]$_{122 \, \rm {\mu m}}$ constrain the presence of the bubble and hence the outflow driving mechanism. However, the line-emitting gas is under-pressurized compared to the hot bubble itself, and much of the line emission arises from gas that is out of pressure, thermal and/or chemical equilibrium. Our results thus suggest that assuming equilibrium conditions, as commonly done in AGN line emission models, is not justified if a hot wind bubble is present. We also find that ≳50 per cent of the mass outflow rate, momentum flux, and kinetic energy flux of the outflow are traced by lines such as [N ii]$_{122 \, \rm {\mu m}}$ and [Ne iii]$_{15 \, \rm {\mu m}}$ (produced in the 10$^{4} \, \rm {K}$ phase) and [C ii]$_{158 \, \rm {\mu m}}$ (produced in the transition from 10$^{4} \, \rm {K}$ to 100 K). 
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  6. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT We present models of CO(1–0) emission from Milky-Way-mass galaxies at redshift zero in the FIRE-2 cosmological zoom-in simulations. We calculate the molecular abundances by post-processing the simulations with an equilibrium chemistry solver while accounting for the effects of local sources, and determine the emergent CO(1–0) emission using a line radiative transfer code. We find that the results depend strongly on the shielding length assumed, which, in our models, sets the attenuation of the incident UV radiation field. At the resolution of these simulations, commonly used choices for the shielding length, such as the Jeans length, result in CO abundances that are too high at a given H2 abundance. We find that a model with a distribution of shielding lengths, which has a median shielding length of ∼3 pc in cold gas (T < 300 K) for both CO and H2, is able to reproduce both the observed CO(1–0) luminosity and inferred CO-to-H2 conversion factor at a given star formation rate compared with observations. We suggest that this short shielding length can be thought of as a subgrid model, which controls the amount of radiation that penetrates giant molecular clouds. 
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  7. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Pressure balance plays a central role in models of the interstellar medium (ISM), but whether and how pressure balance is realized in a realistic multiphase ISM is not yet well understood. We address this question by using a set of FIRE-2 cosmological zoom-in simulations of Milky Way-mass disc galaxies, in which a multiphase ISM is self-consistently shaped by gravity, cooling, and stellar feedback. We analyse how gravity determines the vertical pressure profile as well as how the total ISM pressure is partitioned between different phases and components (thermal, dispersion/turbulence, and bulk flows). We show that, on average and consistent with previous more idealized simulations, the total ISM pressure balances the weight of the overlying gas. Deviations from vertical pressure balance increase with increasing galactocentric radius and with decreasing averaging scale. The different phases are in rough total pressure equilibrium with one another, but with large deviations from thermal pressure equilibrium owing to kinetic support in the cold and warm phases, which dominate the total pressure near the mid-plane. Bulk flows (e.g. inflows and fountains) are important at a few disc scale heights, while thermal pressure from hot gas dominates at larger heights. Overall, the total mid-plane pressure is well-predicted by the weight of the disc gas and we show that it also scales linearly with the star formation rate surface density (ΣSFR). These results support the notion that the Kennicutt–Schmidt relation arises because ΣSFR and the gas surface density (Σg) are connected via the ISM mid-plane pressure. 
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