skip to main content

Search for: All records

Creators/Authors contains: "Wheeler, Coral"

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Abstract Type Ia supernovae are critical for feedback and elemental enrichment in galaxies. Recent surveys like the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernova (ASAS-SN) and the Dark Energy Survey (DES) find that the specific supernova Ia rate at z ∼ 0 may be ≲ 20 − 50 × higher in lower-mass galaxies than at Milky Way-mass. Independently, observations show that the close-binary fraction of solar-type Milky Way stars is higher at lower metallicity. Motivated by these observations, we use the FIRE-2 cosmological zoom-in simulations to explore the impact of metallicity-dependent rate models on galaxies of $M_* \sim 10^7\, \rm {M}_{\odot }-10^{11}\, \rm {M}_{\odot }$. First, we benchmark our simulated star-formation histories (SFHs) against observations, and show that assumed stellar mass functions play a major role in determining the degree of tension between observations and metallicity-independent rate models, potentially causing ASAS-SN and DES observations to agree more than might appear. Models in which the supernova Ia rate increases with decreasing metallicity ($\propto Z^{-0.5 \; \rm {to} \; -1}$) provide significantly better agreement with observations. Encouragingly, these rate increases (≳ 10 × in low-mass galaxies) do not significantly impact galaxy masses and morphologies, which remain largely unaffected except for our most extreme models.more »We explore implications for both [Fe/H] and [$\alpha /\rm {Fe}$] enrichment; metallicity-dependent rate models can improve agreement with the observed stellar mass-metallicity relations in low-mass galaxies. Our results demonstrate that a range of metallicity-dependent rate models are viable for galaxy formation and motivate future work.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 10, 2023
  2. Abstract Extended, old, and round stellar halos appear to be ubiquitous around high-mass dwarf galaxies (10 8.5 < M ⋆ / M ⊙ < 10 9.6 ) in the observed universe. However, it is unlikely that these dwarfs have undergone a sufficient number of minor mergers to form stellar halos that are composed of predominantly accreted stars. Here, we demonstrate that FIRE-2 (Feedback in Realistic Environments) cosmological zoom-in simulations are capable of producing dwarf galaxies with realistic structures, including both a thick disk and round stellar halo. Crucially, these stellar halos are formed in situ, largely via the outward migration of disk stars. However, there also exists a large population of “nondisky” dwarfs in FIRE-2 that lack a well-defined disk/halo and do not resemble the observed dwarf population. These nondisky dwarfs tend to be either more gas-poor or to have burstier recent star formation histories than the disky dwarfs, suggesting that star formation feedback may be preventing disk formation. Both classes of dwarfs underscore the power of a galaxy’s intrinsic shape—which is a direct quantification of the distribution of the galaxy’s stellar content—to interrogate the feedback implementation in simulated galaxies.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  3. ABSTRACT We explore the effect of including progenitor mass- and metallicity-dependent yields, supernova rates and energetics on variations in elemental abundance ratios (particularly [α/Fe]) in dwarf galaxies. To understand how the scatter and overall trends in [α/Fe] are affected by including variable metal yields from a discretely sampled initial mass function, we run FIRE simulations of a dwarf galaxy (M⋆(z = 0$) \sim 10^6\rm \, M_{\odot })$ using nucleosynthetic yields from the NuGrid data base that depend on the stellar progenitor mass and metallicity. While NuGrid exhibits lower aggregate α-element production than default FIRE yields, we find that its explicit mass dependence, even when including turbulent metal diffusion, substantially widens the intrinsic scatter in the simulated [Fe/H]-[α/Fe] – a phenomenon visible in some observations of dwarf galaxies.
  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  5. ABSTRACT We analyse the cold dark matter density profiles of 54 galaxy haloes simulated with Feedback In Realistic Environments (FIRE)-2 galaxy formation physics, each resolved within $0.5{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ of the halo virial radius. These haloes contain galaxies with masses that range from ultrafaint dwarfs ($M_\star \simeq 10^{4.5}\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$) to the largest spirals ($M_\star \simeq 10^{11}\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$) and have density profiles that are both cored and cuspy. We characterize our results using a new, analytic density profile that extends the standard two-parameter Einasto form to allow for a pronounced constant density core in the resolved innermost radius. With one additional core-radius parameter, rc, this three-parameter core-Einasto profile is able to characterize our feedback-impacted dark matter haloes more accurately than other three-parameter profiles proposed in the literature. To enable comparisons with observations, we provide fitting functions for rc and other profile parameters as a function of both M⋆ and M⋆/Mhalo. In agreement with past studies, we find that dark matter core formation is most efficient at the characteristic stellar-to-halo mass ratio M⋆/Mhalo ≃ 5 × 10−3, or $M_{\star } \sim 10^9 \, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$, with cores that are roughly the size of the galaxy half-light radius, rc ≃ 1−5 kpc. Furthermore,more »we find no evidence for core formation at radii $\gtrsim 100\ \rm pc$ in galaxies with M⋆/Mhalo < 5 × 10−4 or $M_\star \lesssim 10^6 \, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$. For Milky Way-size galaxies, baryonic contraction often makes haloes significantly more concentrated and dense at the stellar half-light radius than DMO runs. However, even at the Milky Way scale, FIRE-2 galaxy formation still produces small dark matter cores of ≃ 0.5−2 kpc in size. Recent evidence for a ∼2 kpc core in the Milky Way’s dark matter halo is consistent with this expectation.« less
  6. ABSTRACT We study star formation histories (SFHs) of 500 dwarf galaxies (stellar mass $M_\ast =10^5\!-\!10^9\, \rm {M}_\odot$) from FIRE-2 cosmological zoom-in simulations. We compare dwarfs around individual Milky Way (MW)-mass galaxies, dwarfs in Local Group (LG)-like environments, and true field (i.e. isolated) dwarf galaxies. We reproduce observed trends wherein higher mass dwarfs quench later (if at all), regardless of environment. We also identify differences between the environments, both in terms of ‘satellite versus central’ and ‘LG versus individual MW versus isolated dwarf central.’ Around the individual MW-mass hosts, we recover the result expected from environmental quenching: central galaxies in the ‘near field’ have more extended SFHs than their satellite counterparts, with the former more closely resemble isolated (true field) dwarfs (though near-field centrals are still somewhat earlier forming). However, this difference is muted in the LG-like environments, where both near-field centrals and satellites have similar SFHs, which resemble satellites of single MW-mass hosts. This distinction is strongest for M* = 106–$10^7\, \rm {M}_\odot$ but exists at other masses. Our results suggest that the paired halo nature of the LG may regulate star formation in dwarf galaxies even beyond the virial radii of the MW and Andromeda. Caution is needed when comparingmore »zoom-in simulations targeting isolated dwarf galaxies against observed dwarf galaxies in the LG.« less