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  1. Abstract

    The shape and orientation of dark matter (DM) halos are sensitive to the microphysics of the DM particles, yet in many mass models, the symmetry axes of the Milky Way’s DM halo are often assumed to be aligned with the symmetry axes of the stellar disk. This is well motivated for the inner DM halo, but not for the outer halo. We use zoomed-in cosmological baryonic simulations from the Latte suite of FIRE-2 Milky Way–mass galaxies to explore the evolution of the DM halo’s orientation with radius and time, with or without a major merger with a Large Magellanic Cloud analog, and when varying the DM model. In three of the four cold DM halos we examine, the orientation of the halo minor axis diverges from the stellar disk vector by more than 20° beyond about 30 galactocentric kpc, reaching a maximum of 30°–90°, depending on the individual halo’s formation history. In identical simulations using a model of self-interacting DM withσ= 1 cm2g−1, the halo remains aligned with the stellar disk out to ∼200–400 kpc. Interactions with massive satellites (M≳ 4 × 1010Mat pericenter;M≳ 3.3 × 1010Mat infall) affect the orientation of the halo significantly, aligning the halo’s major axis with the satellite galaxy from the disk to the virial radius. The relative orientation of the halo and disk beyond 30 kpc is a potential diagnostic of self-interacting DM, if the effects of massive satellites can be accounted for.

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  2. Abstract

    We study how supersonic streaming velocities of baryons relative to dark matter—a large-scale effect imprinted at recombination and coherent over ∼3 Mpc scales—affect the formation of dwarf galaxies atz≳ 5. We perform cosmological hydrodynamic simulations, including and excluding streaming velocities, in regions centered on halos withMvir(z= 0) ≈ 1010M; the simulations are part of the Feedback In Realistic Environments (FIRE) project and run with FIRE-3 physics. Our simulations comprise many thousands of systems with halo masses betweenMvir= 2 × 105Mand 2 × 109Min the redshift rangez= 20–5. A few hundred of these galaxies form stars and have stellar masses ranging from 100 to 107M. While star formation is globally delayed by approximately 50 Myr in the streaming relative to nonstreaming simulations and the number of luminous galaxies is correspondingly suppressed at high redshift in the streaming runs, these effects decay with time. Byz= 5, the properties of the simulated galaxies are nearly identical in the streaming versus nonstreaming runs, indicating that any effects of streaming velocities on the properties of galaxies at the mass scale of classical dwarfs and larger do not persist toz= 0.

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    We perform cosmological hydrodynamical simulations to study the formation of proto-globular cluster candidates in progenitors of present-day dwarf galaxies $(M_{\rm vir} \approx 10^{10}\, {\rm M}_\odot$ at z = 0) as part of the ‘Feedback in Realistic Environment’ (FIRE) project. Compact (r1/2 < 30 pc), relatively massive (0.5 × 105 ≲ M⋆/M⊙ ≲ 5 × 105), self-bound stellar clusters form at 11 ≳ z ≳ 5 in progenitors with $M_{\rm vir} \approx 10^9\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$. Cluster formation is triggered when at least $10^7\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$ of dense, turbulent gas reaches $\Sigma _{\rm gas} \approx 10^4\, {\rm M}_\odot \, {\rm pc}^{-2}$ as a result of the compressive effects of supernova feedback or from cloud–cloud collisions. The clusters can survive for $2-3\, {\rm Gyr}$; absent numerical effects, they could possibly survive substantially longer, perhaps to z = 0. The longest lived clusters are those that form at significant distance – several hundreds of pc – from their host galaxy. We therefore predict that globular clusters forming in progenitors of present-day dwarf galaxies will be offset from any pre-existing stars within their host dark matter haloes as opposed to deeply embedded within a well-defined galaxy. Properties of the nascent clusters are consistent with observations of some of the faintest and most compact high-redshift sources in Hubble Space Telescope lensing fields and are at the edge of what will be detectable as point sources in deep imaging of non-lensed fields with JWST. By contrast, the star clusters’ host galaxies will remain undetectable.

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    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.

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  5. Abstract We describe a public data release of the FIRE-2 cosmological zoom-in simulations of galaxy formation (available at ) 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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    Self-interacting dark matter (SIDM) models have received great attention over the past decade as solutions to the small-scale puzzles of astrophysics. Though there are different implementations of dark matter (DM) self-interactions in N-body codes of structure formation, there has not been a systematic study to compare the predictions of these different implementations. We investigate the implementation of dark matter self-interactions in two simulation codes:gizmo and arepo. We begin with identical initial conditions for an isolated 1010 M⊙ dark matter halo and investigate the evolution of the density and velocity dispersion profiles in gizmo and arepo for SIDM cross-section over mass of 1, 5, and 50 $\rm cm^2\, g^{-1}$. Our tests are restricted to the core expansion phase, where the core density decreases and core radius increases with time. We find better than 30 per cent agreement between the codes for the density profile in this phase of evolution, with the agreement improving at higher resolution. We find that varying code-specific SIDM parameters changes the central halo density by less than 10 per cent outside of the convergence radius. We argue that SIDM core formation is robust across the two different schemes and conclude that these codes can reliably differentiate between cross-sections of 1, 5, and 50 $\rm cm^2\, g^{-1}$, but finer distinctions would require further investigation.

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  7. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT We present a suite of baryonic cosmological zoom-in simulations of self-interacting dark matter (SIDM) haloes within the ‘Feedback In Realistic Environment’ (FIRE) project. The three simulated haloes have virial masses of $\sim 10^{12}\, \text{M}_\odot$ at z = 0, and we study velocity-independent self-interaction cross sections of 1 and 10 ${\rm cm^2 \, g^{-1}}$. We study star formation rates and the shape of dark matter density profiles of the parent haloes in both cold dark matter (CDM) and SIDM models. Galaxies formed in the SIDM haloes have higher star formation rates at z ≤ 1, resulting in more massive galaxies compared to the CDM simulations. While both CDM and SIDM simulations show diverse shape of the dark matter density profiles, the SIDM haloes can reach higher and more steep central densities within few kpcs compared to the CDM haloes. We identify a correlation between the build-up of the stars within the half-mass radii of the galaxies and the growth in the central dark matter densities. The thermalization process in the SIDM haloes is enhanced in the presence of a dense stellar component. Hence, SIDM haloes with highly concentrated baryonic profiles are predicted to have higher central dark matter densities than the CDM haloes. Overall, the SIDM haloes are more responsive to the presence of a massive baryonic distribution than their CDM counterparts. 
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    Increasingly, uncertainties in predictions from galaxy formation simulations (at sub-Milky Way masses) are dominated by uncertainties in stellar evolution inputs. In this paper, we present the full set of updates from the Feedback In Realistic Environment (FIRE)-2 version of the FIRE project code, to the next version, FIRE-3. While the transition from FIRE-1 to FIRE-2 focused on improving numerical methods, here we update the stellar evolution tracks used to determine stellar feedback inputs, e.g. stellar mass-loss (O/B and AGB), spectra (luminosities and ionization rates), and supernova rates (core-collapse and Ia), as well as detailed mass-dependent yields. We also update the low-temperature cooling and chemistry, to enable improved accuracy at $T \lesssim 10^{4}\,$K and densities $n\gg 1\, {\rm cm^{-3}}$, and the meta-galactic ionizing background. All of these synthesize newer empirical constraints on these quantities and updated stellar evolution and yield models from a number of groups, addressing different aspects of stellar evolution. To make the updated models as accessible as possible, we provide fitting functions for all of the relevant updated tracks, yields, etc, in a form specifically designed so they can be directly ‘plugged in’ to existing galaxy formation simulations. We also summarize the default FIRE-3 implementations of ‘optional’ physics, including spectrally resolved cosmic rays and supermassive black hole growth and feedback.

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