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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’ physics, including spectrally resolved cosmic rays and supermassive black hole growth and feedback.

     
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  2. ABSTRACT

    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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  3. ABSTRACT

    We present an analysis of spatially resolved gas-phase metallicity relations in five dwarf galaxies ($\rm \mathit{M}_{halo} \approx 10^{11}\, {\rm M}_\odot$, $\rm \mathit{M}_\star \approx 10^{8.8}{-}10^{9.6}\, {\rm M}_\odot$) from the FIRE-2 (Feedback in Realistic Environments) cosmological zoom-in simulation suite, which include an explicit model for sub-grid turbulent mixing of metals in gas, near z ≈ 0, over a period of 1.4 Gyr, and compare our findings with observations. While these dwarf galaxies represent a diverse sample, we find that all simulated galaxies match the observed mass–metallicity (MZR) and mass–metallicity gradient (MZGR) relations. We note that in all five galaxies, the metallicities are effectively identical between phases of the interstellar medium (ISM), with 95 ${{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ of the gas being within ±0.1 dex between the cold and dense gas (T < 500 K and nH > 1 cm−3), ionized gas (near the H αT ≈ 104 K ridge-line), and nebular regions (ionized gas where the 10 Myr-averaged star formation rate is non-zero). We find that most of the scatter in relative metallicity between cold dense gas and ionized gas/nebular regions can be attributed to either local starburst events or metal-poor inflows. We also note the presence of a major merger in one of our galaxies, m11e, with a substantial impact on the metallicity distribution in the spatially resolved map, showing two strong metallicity peaks and triggering a starburst in the main galaxy.

     
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  4. ABSTRACT

    Cosmic rays (CRs) are an important component in the interstellar medium, but their effect on the dynamics of the disc–halo interface (<10 kpc from the disc) is still unclear. We study the influence of CRs on the gas above the disc with high-resolution FIRE-2 cosmological simulations of late-type L⋆ galaxies at redshift z ∼ 0. We compare runs with and without CR feedback (with constant anisotropic diffusion κ∥ ∼ 3 × 1029 cm2 s−1 and streaming). Our simulations capture the relevant disc–halo interactions, including outflows, inflows, and galactic fountains. Extra-planar gas in all of the runs satisfies dynamical balance, where total pressure balances the weight of the overlying gas. While the kinetic pressure from non-uniform motion (≳1 kpc scale) dominates in the mid-plane, thermal and bulk pressures (or CR pressure if included) take over at large heights. We find that with CR feedback, (1) the warm (∼104 K) gas is slowly accelerated by CRs; (2) the hot (>5 × 105 K) gas scale height is suppressed; (3) the warm-hot (2 × 104–5 × 105 K) medium becomes the most volume-filling phase in the disc–halo interface. We develop a novel conceptual model of the near-disc gas dynamics in low-redshift L⋆ galaxies: with CRs, the disc–halo interface is filled with CR-driven warm winds and hot superbubbles that are propagating into the circumgalactic medium with a small fraction falling back to the disc. Without CRs, most outflows from hot superbubbles are trapped by the existing hot halo and gravity, so typically they form galactic fountains.

     
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  5. ABSTRACT

    We study a suite of extremely high-resolution cosmological Feedback in Realistic Environments simulations of dwarf galaxies ($M_{\rm halo} \lesssim 10^{10}\rm \, M_{\odot }$), run to z = 0 with $30\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$ resolution, sufficient (for the first time) to resolve the internal structure of individual supernovae remnants within the cooling radius. Every halo with $M_{\rm halo} \gtrsim 10^{8.6}\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$ is populated by a resolved stellar galaxy, suggesting very low-mass dwarfs may be ubiquitous in the field. Our ultra-faint dwarfs (UFDs; $M_{\ast }\lt 10^{5}\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$) have their star formation (SF) truncated early (z ≳ 2), likely by reionization, while classical dwarfs ($M_{\ast }\gt 10^{5}\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$) continue forming stars to z < 0.5. The systems have bursty star formation histories, forming most of their stars in periods of elevated SF strongly clustered in both space and time. This allows our dwarf with M*/Mhalo > 10−4 to form a dark matter core ${\gt}200\rm \, pc$, while lower mass UFDs exhibit cusps down to ${\lesssim}100\rm \, pc$, as expected from energetic arguments. Our dwarfs with $M_{\ast }\gt 10^{4}\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$ have half-mass radii (R1/2) in agreement with Local Group (LG) dwarfs (dynamical mass versus R1/2 and stellar rotation also resemble observations). The lowest mass UFDs are below surface brightness limits of current surveys but are potentially visible in next-generation surveys (e.g. LSST). The stellar metallicities are lower than in LG dwarfs; this may reflect pre-enrichment of the LG by the massive hosts or Pop-III stars. Consistency with lower resolution studies implies that our simulations are numerically robust (for a given physical model).

     
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  6. 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. 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. 
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  7. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT We study the impact of cosmic rays (CRs) on the structure of virial shocks, using a large suite of high-resolution cosmological FIRE-2 simulations accounting for CR injection by supernovae. In Milky Way-mass, low-redshift (z ≲ 1−2) haloes, which are expected to form ‘hot haloes’ with slowly cooling gas in quasi-hydrostatic equilibrium (with a stable virial shock), our simulations without CRs do exhibit clear virial shocks. The cooler phase condensing out from inflows becomes pressure confined to overdense clumps, embedded in low-density, volume-filling hot gas with volume-weighted cooling time longer than inflow time. The gas thus transitions sharply from cool free-falling inflow, to hot and thermal-pressure supported at approximately the virial radius (≈Rvir), and the shock is quasi-spherical. With CRs, we previously argued that haloes in this particular mass and redshift range build up CR-pressure-dominated gaseous haloes. Here, we show that when CR pressure dominates over thermal pressure, there is no significant virial shock. Instead, inflowing gas is gradually decelerated by the CR pressure gradient and the gas is relatively subsonic out to and even beyond Rvir. Rapid cooling also maintains subvirial temperatures in the inflowing gas within ∼Rvir. 
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  8. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Observations of ultraviolet (UV) metal absorption lines have provided insight into the structure and composition of the circumgalactic medium (CGM) around galaxies. We compare these observations with the low-redshift (z ≤ 0.3) CGM around dwarf galaxies in high-resolution cosmological zoom-in runs in the FIRE-2 (Feedback In Realistic Environments) simulation suite. We select simulated galaxies that match the halo mass, stellar mass, and redshift of the observed samples. We produce absorption measurements using trident for UV transitions of C iv, O vi, Mg ii, and Si iii. The FIRE equivalent width (EW) distributions and covering fractions for the C iv ion are broadly consistent with observations inside 0.5Rvir, but are underpredicted for O vi, Mg ii, and Si iii. The absorption strengths of the ions in the CGM are moderately correlated with the masses and star formation activity of the galaxies. The correlation strengths increase with the ionization potential of the ions. The structure and composition of the gas from the simulations exhibit three zones around dwarf galaxies characterized by distinct ion column densities: the discy interstellar medium, the inner CGM (the wind-dominated regime), and the outer CGM (the IGM accretion-dominated regime). We find that the outer CGM in the simulations is nearly but not quite supported by thermal pressure, so it is not in hydrostatic equilibrium, resulting in halo-scale bulk inflow and outflow motions. The net gas inflow rates are comparable to the star formation rate of the galaxy, but the bulk inflow and outflow rates are greater by an order of magnitude, with velocities comparable to the virial velocity of the halo. These roughly virial velocities (${\sim } 100 \, \rm km\, s^{-1}$) produce large EWs in the simulations. This supports a picture for dwarf galaxies in which the dynamics of the CGM at large scales are coupled to the small-scale star formation activity near the centre of their haloes. 
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  9. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT We present new measurements of the spatial distribution and kinematics of neutral hydrogen in the circumgalactic and intergalactic medium surrounding star-forming galaxies at z ∼ 2. Using the spectra of ≃3000 galaxies with redshifts 〈z〉 = 2.3 ± 0.4 from the Keck Baryonic Structure Survey, we assemble a sample of more than 200 000 distinct foreground-background pairs with projected angular separations of 3–500 arcsec and spectroscopic redshifts, with 〈zfg〉 = 2.23 and 〈zbg〉 = 2.57 (foreground, background redshifts, respectively.) The ensemble of sightlines and foreground galaxies is used to construct a 2D map of the mean excess $\rm{H\,{\small I}}$$\rm Ly\,\alpha$ optical depth relative to the intergalactic mean as a function of projected galactocentric distance (20 ≲ Dtran/pkpc ≲ 4000) and line-of-sight velocity. We obtain accurate galaxy systemic redshifts, providing significant information on the line-of-sight kinematics of $\rm{H\,{\small I}}$ gas as a function of projected distance Dtran. We compare the map with cosmological zoom-in simulation, finding qualitative agreement between them. A simple two-component (accretion, outflow) analytical model generally reproduces the observed line-of-sight kinematics and projected spatial distribution of $\rm{H\,{\small I}}$. The best-fitting model suggests that galaxy-scale outflows with initial velocity vout ≃ 600 km s$^{-1}\,$ dominate the kinematics of circumgalactic $\rm{H\,{\small I}}$ out to Dtran ≃ 50 kpc, while $\rm{H\,{\small I}}$ at Dtran ≳ 100 kpc is dominated by infall with characteristic vin ≲ circular velocity. Over the impact parameter range 80 ≲ Dtran/pkpc ≲ 200, the $\rm{H\,{\small I}}$ line-of-sight velocity range reaches a minimum, with a corresponding flattening in the rest-frame $\rm Ly\,\alpha$ equivalent width. These observations can be naturally explained as the transition between outflow-dominated and accretion-dominated flows. Beyond Dtran ≃ 300 pkpc (∼1 cMpc), the line-of-sight kinematics are dominated by Hubble expansion. 
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  10. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT We present models of CO(1–0) emission from Milky-Way-mass galaxies at redshift zero in the FIRE-2 cosmological zoom-in simulations. We calculate the molecular abundances by post-processing the simulations with an equilibrium chemistry solver while accounting for the effects of local sources, and determine the emergent CO(1–0) emission using a line radiative transfer code. We find that the results depend strongly on the shielding length assumed, which, in our models, sets the attenuation of the incident UV radiation field. At the resolution of these simulations, commonly used choices for the shielding length, such as the Jeans length, result in CO abundances that are too high at a given H2 abundance. We find that a model with a distribution of shielding lengths, which has a median shielding length of ∼3 pc in cold gas (T < 300 K) for both CO and H2, is able to reproduce both the observed CO(1–0) luminosity and inferred CO-to-H2 conversion factor at a given star formation rate compared with observations. We suggest that this short shielding length can be thought of as a subgrid model, which controls the amount of radiation that penetrates giant molecular clouds. 
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