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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 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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    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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  3. Abstract Several lines of evidence suggest that the Milky Way underwent a major merger at z ∼ 2 with the Gaia-Sausage-Enceladus (GSE) galaxy. Here we use H3 Survey data to argue that GSE entered the Galaxy on a retrograde orbit based on a population of highly retrograde stars with chemistry similar to the largely radial GSE debris. We present the first tailored N -body simulations of the merger. From a grid of ≈500 simulations we find that a GSE with M ⋆ = 5 × 10 8 M ⊙ , M DM = 2 × 10 11 M ⊙ best matches the H3 data. This simulation shows that the retrograde stars are stripped from GSE’s outer disk early in the merger. Despite being selected purely on angular momenta and radial distributions, this simulation reproduces and explains the following phenomena: (i) the triaxial shape of the inner halo, whose major axis is at ≈35° to the plane and connects GSE’s apocenters; (ii) the Hercules-Aquila Cloud and the Virgo Overdensity, which arise due to apocenter pileup; and (iii) the 2 Gyr lag between the quenching of GSE and the truncation of the age distribution of the in situ halo, which tracks themore »lag between the first and final GSE pericenters. We make the following predictions: (i) the inner halo has a “double-break” density profile with breaks at both ≈15–18 kpc and 30 kpc, coincident with the GSE apocenters; and (ii) the outer halo has retrograde streams awaiting discovery at >30 kpc that contain ≈10% of GSE’s stars. The retrograde (radial) GSE debris originates from its outer (inner) disk—exploiting this trend, we reconstruct the stellar metallicity gradient of GSE (−0.04 ± 0.01 dex r 50 − 1 ). These simulations imply that GSE delivered ≈20% of the Milky Way’s present-day dark matter and ≈50% of its stellar halo.« less
    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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  5. 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
  6. ABSTRACT We compare the star-forming main sequence (SFMS) of galaxies – both integrated and resolved on 1 kpc scales – between the high-resolution TNG50 simulation of IllustrisTNG and observations from the 3D-HST slitless spectroscopic survey at z ∼ 1. Contrasting integrated star formation rates (SFRs), we find that the slope and normalization of the star-forming main sequence in TNG50 are quantitatively consistent with values derived by fitting observations from 3D-HST with the Prospector Bayesian inference framework. The previous offsets of 0.2–1 dex between observed and simulated main-sequence normalizations are resolved when using the updated masses and SFRs from Prospector. The scatter is generically smaller in TNG50 than in 3D-HST for more massive galaxies with M*> 1010 M⊙, by ∼10–40 per cent, after accounting for observational uncertainties. When comparing resolved star formation, we also find good agreement between TNG50 and 3D-HST: average specific star formation rate (sSFR) radial profiles of galaxies at all masses and radii below, on, and above the SFMS are similar in both normalization and shape. Most noteworthy, massive galaxies with M*> 1010.5 M⊙, which have fallen below the SFMS due to ongoing quenching, exhibit a clear central SFR suppression, in both TNG50 and 3D-HST. In contrast, the original Illustris simulation and a variantmore »TNG run without black hole kinetic wind feedback, do not reproduce the central SFR profile suppression seen in data. In TNG, inside-out quenching is due to the supermassive black hole (SMBH) feedback model operating at low accretion rates.« less
  7. ABSTRACT Supermassive black holes (SMBHs) that reside at the centres of galaxies can inject vast amounts of energy into the surrounding gas and are thought to be a viable mechanism to quench star formation in massive galaxies. Here, we study the $10^{9-12.5}\, \mathrm{M_\odot }$ stellar mass central galaxy population of the IllustrisTNG simulation, specifically the TNG100 and TNG300 volumes at z = 0, and show how the three components – SMBH, galaxy, and circumgalactic medium (CGM) – are interconnected in their evolution. We find that gas entropy is a sensitive diagnostic of feedback injection. In particular, we demonstrate how the onset of the low-accretion black hole (BH) feedback mode, realized in the IllustrisTNG model as a kinetic, BH-driven wind, leads not only to star formation quenching at stellar masses $\gtrsim 10^{10.5}\, \mathrm{M_\odot }$ but also to a change in thermodynamic properties of the (non-star-forming) gas, both within the galaxy and beyond. The IllustrisTNG kinetic feedback from SMBHs increases the average gas entropy, within the galaxy and in the CGM, lengthening typical gas cooling times from $10\!-\!100\, \mathrm{Myr}$ to $1\!-\!10\, \mathrm{Gyr}$, effectively ceasing ongoing star formation and inhibiting radiative cooling and future gas accretion. In practice, the same active galactic nucleusmore »(AGN) feedback channel is simultaneously ‘ejective’ and ‘preventative’ and leaves an imprint on the temperature, density, entropy, and cooling times also in the outer reaches of the gas halo, up to distances of several hundred kiloparsecs. In the IllustrisTNG model, a long-lasting quenching state can occur for a heterogeneous CGM, whereby the hot and dilute CGM gas of quiescent galaxies contains regions of low-entropy gas with short cooling times.« less
  8. ABSTRACT The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) promises to revolutionize our understanding of the early Universe, and contrasting its upcoming observations with predictions of the Λ cold dark matter model requires detailed theoretical forecasts. Here, we exploit the large dynamic range of the IllustrisTNG simulation suite, TNG50, TNG100, and TNG300, to derive multiband galaxy luminosity functions from z = 2 to z = 10. We put particular emphasis on the exploration of different dust attenuation models to determine galaxy luminosity functions for the rest-frame ultraviolet (UV), and apparent wide NIRCam bands. Our most detailed dust model is based on continuum Monte Carlo radiative transfer calculations employing observationally calibrated dust properties. This calibration results in constraints on the redshift evolution of the dust attenuation normalization and dust-to-metal ratios yielding a stronger redshift evolution of the attenuation normalization compared to most previous theoretical studies. Overall we find good agreement between the rest-frame UV luminosity functions and observational data for all redshifts, also beyond the regimes used for the dust model calibrations. Furthermore, we also recover the observed high-redshift (z = 4–6) UV luminosity versus stellar mass relation, the H α versus star formation rate relation, and the H α luminosity function at z = 2. The bright endmore »(MUV > −19.5) cumulative galaxy number densities are consistent with observational data. For the F200W NIRCam band, we predict that JWST will detect ∼80 (∼200) galaxies with a signal-to-noise ratio of 10 (5) within the NIRCam field of view, $2.2\times 2.2 \, {\rm arcmin}^{2}$, for a total exposure time of $10^5\, {\rm s}$ in the redshift range z = 8 ± 0.5. These numbers drop to ∼10 (∼40) for an exposure time of $10^4\, {\rm s}$.« less
  9. ABSTRACT We explore the isothermal total density profiles of early-type galaxies (ETGs) in the IllustrisTNG simulation. For the selected 559 ETGs at z = 0 with stellar masses $10^{10.7}\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot } \leqslant M_{\ast } \leqslant 10^{11.9}\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$, the total power-law slope has a mean of 〈γ′〉 = 2.011 ± 0.007 and a scatter of $\sigma _{\gamma ^{\prime }} = 0.171$ over the radial range 0.4–4 times the stellar half-mass radius. Several correlations between γ′ and galactic properties including stellar mass, effective radius, stellar surface density, central velocity dispersion, central dark matter fraction, and in situ-formed stellar mass ratio are compared to observations and other simulations, revealing that IllustrisTNG reproduces many correlation trends, and in particular, γ′ is almost constant with redshift below z = 2. Through analysing IllustrisTNG model variations, we show that black hole kinetic winds are crucial to lowering γ′ and matching observed galaxy correlations. The effects of stellar winds on γ′ are subdominant compared to active galactic nucleus (AGN) feedback, and differ due to the presence of AGN feedback from previous works. The density profiles of the ETG dark matter haloes are well described by steeper than NFW profiles, and they are steeper in the full physics (FP) run than their counterpartsmore »in the dark matter-only (DMO) run. Their inner density slopes anticorrelate (remain constant) with the halo mass in the FP (DMO) run, and anticorrelate with the halo concentration parameter c200 in both the types of runs. The dark matter haloes of low-mass ETGs are contracted whereas high-mass ETGs are expanded, suggesting that variations in the total density profile occur through the different halo responses to baryons.« less