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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2023

    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 mergersmore »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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  3. ABSTRACT Galaxy mergers are known to host abundant young massive cluster (YMC) populations, whose formation mechanism is still not well-understood. Here, we present a high-resolution galaxy merger simulation with explicit star formation and stellar feedback prescriptions to investigate how mergers affect the properties of the interstellar medium and YMCs. Compared with a controlled simulation of an isolated galaxy, the mass fraction of dense and high-pressure gas is much higher in mergers. Consequently, the mass function of both molecular clouds and YMCs becomes shallower and extends to higher masses. Moreover, cluster formation efficiency is significantly enhanced and correlates positively with the star formation rate surface density and gas pressure. We track the orbits of YMCs and investigate the time evolution of tidal fields during the course of the merger. At an early stage of the merger, the tidal field strength correlates positively with YMC mass, λtid ∝ M0.71, which systematically affects the shape of the mass function and age distribution of the YMCs. At later times, most YMCs closely follow the orbits of their host galaxies, gradually sinking into the centre of the merger remnant due to dynamical friction, and are quickly dissolved via efficient tidal disruption. Interestingly, YMCs formed during the firstmore »passage, mostly in tidal tails and bridges, are distributed over a wide range of galactocentric radii, greatly increasing their survivability because of the much weaker tidal field in the outskirts of the merger system. These YMCs are promising candidates for globular clusters that survive to the present day.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 3, 2023

    We explore implications of a range of black hole (BH) seeding prescriptions on the formation of the brightest $z$ ≳ 6 quasars in cosmological hydrodynamic simulations. The underlying galaxy formation model is the same as in the IllustrisTNG simulations. Using constrained initial conditions, we study the growth of BHs in rare overdense regions (forming $\gtrsim 10^{12}\, {\rm M}_{\odot }\,h^{-1}$ haloes by $z$ = 7) using a  (9 Mpc h−1)3 simulated volume. BH growth is maximal within haloes that are compact and have a low tidal field. For these haloes, we consider an array of gas-based seeding prescriptions wherein $M_{\mathrm{seed}}=10^4\!-\!10^6\, {\rm M}_{\odot }\,h^{-1}$ seeds are inserted in haloes above critical thresholds for halo mass and dense, metal-poor gas mass (defined as $\tilde{M}_{\mathrm{h}}$ and $\tilde{M}_{\mathrm{sf,mp}}$, respectively, in units of Mseed). We find that a seed model with $\tilde{M}_{\mathrm{sf,mp}}=5$ and $\tilde{M}_{\mathrm{h}}=3000$ successfully produces a $z$ ∼ 6 quasar with $\sim 10^9\, {\rm M}_{\odot }$ mass and ∼1047 erg s−1 luminosity. BH mergers play a crucial role at $z$ ≳ 9, causing an early boost in BH mass at a time when accretion-driven BH growth is negligible. With more stringent seeding conditions (e.g. $\tilde{M}_{\mathrm{sf,mp}}=1000$), the relative paucity of BH seeds results in a much lower merger rate. In this case, $z$more »≳ 6 quasars can only be formed if we enhance the maximum allowed BH accretion rates (by factors ≳10) compared to the accretion model used in IllustrisTNG. This can be achieved either by allowing for super-Eddington accretion, or by reducing the radiative efficiency. Our results demonstrate that progenitors of $z$ ∼ 6 quasars have distinct BH merger histories for different seeding models, which will be distinguishable with Laser Interferometer Space Antenna observations.

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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, butmore »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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  6. ABSTRACT We develop a cosmological model for the evolution of dust grains in galaxies with a distribution of sizes in order to understand the origin of the Milky Way dust extinction curve. Our model considers the formation of active dust in evolved stars, growth by accretion and coagulation, and destruction processes via shattering, sputtering, and astration in the ISM of galaxies over cosmic time. Our main results follow. Galaxies in our cosmological model with masses comparable to the Milky Way’s at z ∼ 0 exhibit a diverse range of extinction laws, though with slopes and bump strengths comparable to the range observed in the Galaxy. The progenitors of the Milky Way have steeper slopes, and only flatten to slopes comparable to the Galaxy at z ∼ 1. This owes to increased grain growth rates at late times/in high-metallicity environments driving up the ratio of large to small grains, with a secondary dependence on the graphite-to-silicate ratio evolution. The UV bump strengths depend primarily on the graphite-to-silicate ratio, and remain broadly constant in MW-like galaxies between z = 3 and z = 0, though show slight variability. Our models span comparable regions of bump-slope space as sightlines in the Galaxy do, though theremore »is a lack of clear relationship between the model slopes and bump strengths owing to variations among galaxies in the graphite-to-silicate ratio. Our model provides a novel framework to study the origins and variations of dust extinction curves in galaxies over cosmic time.« less
  7. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022

    Direct collapse black holes (BHs) are promising candidates for producing massive z ≳ 6 quasars, but their formation requires fine-tuned conditions. In this work, we use cosmological zoom simulations to study systematically the impact of requiring: (1) low gas angular momentum (spin), and (2) a minimum incident Lyman–Werner (LW) flux in order to form BH seeds. We probe the formation of seeds (with initial masses of $M_{\rm seed} \sim 10^4\!-\!10^6\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }\, h^{-1})$ in haloes with a total mass >3000 × Mseed and a dense, metal-poor gas mass >5 × Mseed. Within this framework, we find that the seed-forming haloes have a prior history of star formation and metal enrichment, but they also contain pockets of dense, metal-poor gas. When seeding is further restricted to haloes with low gas spins, the number of seeds formed is suppressed by factors of ∼6 compared to the baseline model, regardless of the seed mass. Seed formation is much more strongly impacted if the dense, metal-poor gas is required to have a critical LW flux (Jcrit). Even for Jcrit values as low as 50J21, no $8\times 10^{5}~\mathrm{M}_{\odot }\, h^{-1}$ seeds are formed. While lower mass ($1.25\times 10^{4},1\times 10^{5}~\mathrm{M}_{\odot }\, h^{-1}$) seeds do form, they are strongly suppressed (by factors of ∼10–100) comparedmore »to the baseline model at gas mass resolutions of $\sim 10^4~\mathrm{M}_{\odot }\, h^{-1}$ (with even stronger suppression at higher resolutions). As a result, BH merger rates are also similarly suppressed. Since early BH growth is dominated by mergers in our models, none of the seeds are able to grow to the supermassive regime ($\gtrsim 10^6~\mathrm{M}_{\odot }\, h^{-1}$) by z = 7. Our results hint that producing the bulk of the z ≳ 6 supermassive BH population may require alternate seeding scenarios that do not depend on the LW flux, early BH growth dominated by rapid or super-Eddington accretion, or a combination of these possibilities.

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    We study the intrinsic large-scale distribution and evolution of seven ionized metals in the IllustrisTNG magnetohydrodynamical cosmological simulation. We focus on the fractions of C ii, C iv, Mg ii, N v, Ne viii, O vi, and Si iv in different cosmic web structures (filaments, haloes, and voids) and gas phases (warm–hot intergalactic medium, hot, diffuse, and condensed gas) from z = 6 to z = 0. Our analysis provides a new perspective to the study of the distribution and evolution of baryons across cosmic time while offering new hints in the context of the well-known missing baryons problem. The cosmic web components are here identified using the local comoving dark matter density, which provides a simple but effective way of mapping baryons on large scales. Our results show that C ii and Mg ii are mostly located in condensed gas inside haloes in high-density and low-temperature star-forming regions ($\rho _{\rm gas}/\bar{\rho }_{\rm bar}\gtrsim 10^3$, and T ≲ 105 K). C iv and Si iv present similar evolution of their mass fractions in haloes and filaments across cosmic time. In particular, their mass budgets in haloes in condensed phase ($\rho _{\rm gas}/\bar{\rho }_{\rm bar}\gtrsim 10^3$, and T ≲ 105 K) are driven by gas cooling and star formation with a peak at z ∼more »2. Finally, our results confirm that O vi, Ne viii, and N v are good tracers of warm/hot and low-density gas at low redshift ($\rho _{\rm gas}/\bar{\rho }_{\rm bar}\lesssim 10^3$, and T ≳ 105 K), regions that are likely to contain most of the missing baryons in the local Universe.

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  10. Abstract Deciphering the formation of supermassive black holes (SMBHs) is a key science goal for upcoming observational facilities. In many theoretical channels proposed so far, the seed formation depends crucially on local gas conditions. We systematically characterize the impact of a range of gas-based black hole seeding prescriptions on SMBH populations using cosmological simulations. Seeds of mass Mseed ∼ 103–106 M⊙ h−1 are placed in haloes that exceed critical thresholds for star-forming, metal-poor gas mass and halo mass (defined as $\tilde{M}_{\mathrm{sf,mp}}$ and $\tilde{M}_{\mathrm{h}}$, respectively, in units of Mseed). We quantify the impact of these parameters on the properties of z ≥ 7 SMBHs. Lower seed masses produce higher black hole merger rates (by factors of ∼10 and ∼1000 at z ∼ 7 and z ∼ 15, respectively). For fixed seed mass, we find that $\tilde{M}_{\mathrm{h}}$ has the strongest impact on the black hole population at high redshift (z ≳ 15, where a factor of 10 increase in $\tilde{M}_{\mathrm{h}}$ suppresses merger rates by ≳ 100). At lower redshift (z ≲ 15), we find that $\tilde{M}_{\mathrm{sf,mp}}$ has a larger impact on the black hole population. Increasing $\tilde{M}_{\mathrm{sf,mp}}$ from 5–150 suppresses the merger rates by factors of ∼8 at z ∼ 7–15. This suggests that themore »seeding criteria explored here could leave distinct imprints on LISA merger rates. In contrast, AGN luminosity functions are much less sensitive to seeding criteria, varying by factors ≲ 2 − 3 within our models. Such variations will be challenging to probe even with future sensitive instruments such as Lynx or JWST. Our study provides a useful benchmark for development of seed models for large-volume cosmological simulations.« less