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  1. ABSTRACT 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’more »physics, including spectrally resolved cosmic rays and supermassive black hole growth and feedback.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 30, 2023
  2. ABSTRACT Without additional heating, radiative cooling of the halo gas of massive galaxies (Milky Way-mass and above) produces cold gas or stars exceeding that observed. Heating from active galactic nucleus (AGN) jets is likely required, but the jet properties remain unclear. This is particularly challenging for galaxy simulations, where the resolution is orders-of-magnitude insufficient to resolve jet formation and evolution. On such scales, the uncertain parameters include the jet energy form [kinetic, thermal, cosmic ray (CR)]; energy, momentum, and mass flux; magnetic fields; opening angle; precession; and duty cycle. We investigate these parameters in a $10^{14}\, {\rm M}_{\odot }$ halo using high-resolution non-cosmological magnetohydrodynamic simulations with the FIRE-2 (Feedback In Realistic Environments) stellar feedback model, conduction, and viscosity. We explore which scenarios qualitatively meet observational constraints on the halo gas and show that CR-dominated jets most efficiently quench the galaxy by providing CR pressure support and modifying the thermal instability. Mildly relativistic (∼MeV or ∼1010K) thermal plasma jets work but require ∼10 times larger energy input. For fixed energy flux, jets with higher specific energy (longer cooling times) quench more effectively. For this halo mass, kinetic jets are inefficient at quenching unless they have wide opening or precession angles. Magnetic fieldsmore »also matter less except when the magnetic energy flux reaches ≳ 1044 erg s−1 in a kinetic jet model, which significantly widens the jet cocoon. The criteria for a successful jet model are an optimal energy flux and a sufficiently wide jet cocoon with a long enough cooling time at the cooling radius.« less
  3. ABSTRACT We study the spatially resolved (sub-kpc) gas velocity dispersion (σ)–star formation rate (SFR) relation in the FIRE-2 (Feedback in Realistic Environments) cosmological simulations. We specifically focus on Milky Way-mass disc galaxies at late times (z ≈ 0). In agreement with observations, we find a relatively flat relationship, with σ ≈ 15–30 km s−1 in neutral gas across 3 dex in SFRs. We show that higher dense gas fractions (ratios of dense gas to neutral gas) and SFRs are correlated at constant σ. Similarly, lower gas fractions (ratios of gas to stellar mass) are correlated with higher σ at constant SFR. The limits of the σ–ΣSFR relation correspond to the onset of strong outflows. We see evidence of ‘on-off’ cycles of star formation in the simulations, corresponding to feedback injection time-scales of 10–100 Myr, where SFRs oscillate about equilibrium SFR predictions. Finally, SFRs and velocity dispersions in the simulations agree well with feedback-regulated and marginally stable gas disc (Toomre’s Q = 1) model predictions, and the simulation data effectively rule out models assuming that gas turns into stars at (low) constant efficiency (i.e. 1 per cent per free-fall time). And although the simulation data do not entirely exclude gas accretion/gravitationally powered turbulence as a driver of σ,more »it appears to be subdominant to stellar feedback in the simulated galaxy discs at z ≈ 0.« less
  4. ABSTRACT We present and study a large suite of high-resolution cosmological zoom-in simulations, using the FIRE-2 treatment of mechanical and radiative feedback from massive stars, together with explicit treatment of magnetic fields, anisotropic conduction and viscosity (accounting for saturation and limitation by plasma instabilities at high β), and cosmic rays (CRs) injected in supernovae shocks (including anisotropic diffusion, streaming, adiabatic, hadronic and Coulomb losses). We survey systems from ultrafaint dwarf ($M_{\ast }\sim 10^{4}\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$, $M_{\rm halo}\sim 10^{9}\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$) through Milky Way/Local Group (MW/LG) masses, systematically vary uncertain CR parameters (e.g. the diffusion coefficient κ and streaming velocity), and study a broad ensemble of galaxy properties [masses, star formation (SF) histories, mass profiles, phase structure, morphologies, etc.]. We confirm previous conclusions that magnetic fields, conduction, and viscosity on resolved ($\gtrsim 1\,$ pc) scales have only small effects on bulk galaxy properties. CRs have relatively weak effects on all galaxy properties studied in dwarfs ($M_{\ast } \ll 10^{10}\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$, $M_{\rm halo} \lesssim 10^{11}\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$), or at high redshifts (z ≳ 1–2), for any physically reasonable parameters. However, at higher masses ($M_{\rm halo} \gtrsim 10^{11}\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$) and z ≲ 1–2, CRs can suppress SF and stellar masses by factorsmore »∼2–4, given reasonable injection efficiencies and relatively high effective diffusion coefficients $\kappa \gtrsim 3\times 10^{29}\, {\rm cm^{2}\, s^{-1}}$. At lower κ, CRs take too long to escape dense star-forming gas and lose their energy to collisional hadronic losses, producing negligible effects on galaxies and violating empirical constraints from spallation and γ-ray emission. At much higher κ CRs escape too efficiently to have appreciable effects even in the CGM. But around $\kappa \sim 3\times 10^{29}\, {\rm cm^{2}\, s^{-1}}$, CRs escape the galaxy and build up a CR-pressure-dominated halo which maintains approximate virial equilibrium and supports relatively dense, cool (T ≪ 106 K) gas that would otherwise rain on to the galaxy. CR ‘heating’ (from collisional and streaming losses) is never dominant.« less
  5. Abstract The quenching “maintenance” and “cooling flow” problems are important from the Milky Way through massive cluster elliptical galaxies. Previous work has shown that some source of energy beyond that from stars and pure magnetohydrodynamic processes is required, perhaps from AGN, but even the qualitative form of this energetic input remains uncertain. Different scenarios include thermal “heating,” direct wind or momentum injection, cosmic ray heating or pressure support, or turbulent “stirring” of the intra-cluster medium (ICM). We investigate these in 1012 − 1014 M⊙ halos using high-resolution non-cosmological simulations with the FIRE-2 (Feedback In Realistic Environments) stellar feedback model, including simplified toy energy-injection models, where we arbitrarily vary the strength, injection scale, and physical form of the energy. We explore which scenarios can quench without violating observational constraints on energetics or ICM gas. We show that turbulent stirring in the central ∼100 kpc, or cosmic-ray injection, can both maintain a stable low-SFR halo for >Gyr timescales with modest energy input, by providing a non-thermal pressure which stably lowers the core density and cooling rates. In both cases, associated thermal-heating processes are negligible. Turbulent stirring preserves cool-core features while mixing condensed core gas into the hotter halo and is by far the mostmore »energy efficient model. Pure thermal heating or nuclear isotropic momentum injection require vastly larger energy, are less efficient in lower-mass halos, easily over-heat cores, and require fine-tuning to avoid driving unphysical temperature gradients or gas expulsion from the halo center.« less