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  1. Abstract

    The absolute age of a simple stellar population is of fundamental interest for a wide range of applications but is difficult to measure in practice, as it requires an understanding of the uncertainties in a variety of stellar evolution processes as well as the uncertainty in the distance, reddening, and composition. As a result, most studies focus only on the relative age by assuming that stellar evolution calculations are accurate and using age determinations techniques that are relatively independent of distance and reddening. Here, we construct 20,000 sets of theoretical isochrones through Monte Carlo simulation using the Dartmouth Stellar Evolution Program to measure the absolute age of the globular cluster M92. For each model, we vary a range of input physics used in the stellar evolution models, including opacities, nuclear reaction rates, diffusion coefficients, atmospheric boundary conditions, helium abundance, and treatment of convection. We also explore variations in the distance and reddening as well as its overall metallicity andαenhancement. We generate simulated Hess diagrams around the main-sequence turn-off region from each set of isochrones and use a Voronoi binning method to fit the diagrams to Hubble Space Telescope Advanced Camera for Surveys data. We find the age of M92 to be 13.80 ± 0.75 Gyr. The 5.4% error in the absolute age is dominated by the uncertainty in the distance to M92 (∼80% of the error budget); of the remaining parameters, only the total metallicity,αelement abundance, and treatment of helium diffusion contribute significantly to the total error.

     
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  2. Abstract

    We study how supersonic streaming velocities of baryons relative to dark matter—a large-scale effect imprinted at recombination and coherent over ∼3 Mpc scales—affect the formation of dwarf galaxies atz≳ 5. We perform cosmological hydrodynamic simulations, including and excluding streaming velocities, in regions centered on halos withMvir(z= 0) ≈ 1010M; the simulations are part of the Feedback In Realistic Environments (FIRE) project and run with FIRE-3 physics. Our simulations comprise many thousands of systems with halo masses betweenMvir= 2 × 105Mand 2 × 109Min the redshift rangez= 20–5. A few hundred of these galaxies form stars and have stellar masses ranging from 100 to 107M. While star formation is globally delayed by approximately 50 Myr in the streaming relative to nonstreaming simulations and the number of luminous galaxies is correspondingly suppressed at high redshift in the streaming runs, these effects decay with time. Byz= 5, the properties of the simulated galaxies are nearly identical in the streaming versus nonstreaming runs, indicating that any effects of streaming velocities on the properties of galaxies at the mass scale of classical dwarfs and larger do not persist toz= 0.

     
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  3. Abstract

    Early data from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) have revealed a bevy of high-redshift galaxy candidates with unexpectedly high stellar masses. An immediate concern is the consistency of these candidates with galaxy formation in the standardΛCDM cosmological model, wherein the stellar mass (M) of a galaxy is limited by the available baryonic reservoir of its host dark matter halo. The mass function of dark matter haloes therefore imposes an absolute upper limit on the number densityn(>M, z) and stellar mass densityρ(>M, z) of galaxies more massive thanMat any epochz. Here I show that the most massive galaxy candidates in JWST observations atz ≈ 7–10 lie at the very edge of these limits, indicating an important unresolved issue with the properties of galaxies derived from the observations, how galaxies form at early times inΛCDM or within this standard cosmology itself.

     
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  4. ABSTRACT

    We investigate the formation of Milky Way–mass galaxies using FIRE-2 ΛCDM cosmological zoom-in simulations by studying the orbital evolution of stars formed in the main progenitor of the galaxy, from birth to the present day. We classify in situ stars as isotropic spheroid, thick-disc, and thin-disc according to their orbital circularities and show that these components are assembled in a time-ordered sequence from early to late times, respectively. All simulated galaxies experience an early phase of bursty star formation that transitions to a late-time steady phase. This transition coincides with the time that the inner CGM virializes. During the early bursty phase, galaxies have irregular morphologies and new stars are born on radial orbits; these stars evolve into an isotropic spheroidal population today. The bulk of thick-disc stars form at intermediate times, during a clumpy-disc ‘spin-up’ phase, slightly later than the peak of spheroid formation. At late times, once the CGM virializes and star formation ‘cools down,’ stars are born on circular orbits within a narrow plane. Those stars mostly inhabit thin discs today. Broadly speaking, stars with disc-like or spheroid-like orbits today were born that way. Mergers on to discs and secular processes do affect kinematics in our simulations, but play only secondary roles in populating thick-disc and in situ spheroid populations at z = 0. The age distributions of spheroid, thick disc, and thin disc populations scale self-similarly with the steady-phase transition time, which suggests that morphological age dating can be linked to the CGM virialization time in galaxies.

     
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  5. ABSTRACT

    We investigate cosmological structure formation in fuzzy dark matter (FDM) with the attractive self-interaction (SI) with numerical simulations. Such a SI would arise if the FDM boson were an ultra-light axion, which has a strong CP symmetry-breaking scale (decay constant). Although weak, the attractive SI may be strong enough to counteract the quantum ‘pressure’ and alter structure formation. We find in our simulations that the SI can enhance small-scale structure formation, and soliton cores above a critical mass undergo a phase transition, transforming from dilute to dense solitons.

     
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  6. ABSTRACT

    We perform cosmological hydrodynamical simulations to study the formation of proto-globular cluster candidates in progenitors of present-day dwarf galaxies $(M_{\rm vir} \approx 10^{10}\, {\rm M}_\odot$ at z = 0) as part of the ‘Feedback in Realistic Environment’ (FIRE) project. Compact (r1/2 < 30 pc), relatively massive (0.5 × 105 ≲ M⋆/M⊙ ≲ 5 × 105), self-bound stellar clusters form at 11 ≳ z ≳ 5 in progenitors with $M_{\rm vir} \approx 10^9\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$. Cluster formation is triggered when at least $10^7\, \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$ of dense, turbulent gas reaches $\Sigma _{\rm gas} \approx 10^4\, {\rm M}_\odot \, {\rm pc}^{-2}$ as a result of the compressive effects of supernova feedback or from cloud–cloud collisions. The clusters can survive for $2-3\, {\rm Gyr}$; absent numerical effects, they could possibly survive substantially longer, perhaps to z = 0. The longest lived clusters are those that form at significant distance – several hundreds of pc – from their host galaxy. We therefore predict that globular clusters forming in progenitors of present-day dwarf galaxies will be offset from any pre-existing stars within their host dark matter haloes as opposed to deeply embedded within a well-defined galaxy. Properties of the nascent clusters are consistent with observations of some of the faintest and most compact high-redshift sources in Hubble Space Telescope lensing fields and are at the edge of what will be detectable as point sources in deep imaging of non-lensed fields with JWST. By contrast, the star clusters’ host galaxies will remain undetectable.

     
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  7. ABSTRACT

    The fuzzy dark matter (FDM) scenario has received increased attention in recent years due to the small-scale challenges of the vanilla Lambda cold dark matter (ΛCDM) cosmological model and the lack of any experimental evidence for any candidate particle. In this study, we use cosmological N-body simulations to investigate high-redshift dark matter haloes and their responsiveness to an FDM-like power spectrum cutoff on small scales in the primordial density perturbations. We study halo density profiles, shapes, and alignments in FDM-like cosmologies (the latter two for the first time) by providing fits and quantifying departures from ΛCDM as a function of the particle mass m. Compared to ΛCDM, the concentrations of FDM-like haloes are lower, peaking at an m-dependent halo mass and thus breaking the approximate universality of density profiles in ΛCDM. The intermediate-to-major and minor-to-major shape parameter profiles are monotonically increasing with ellipsoidal radius in N-body simulations of ΛCDM. In FDM-like cosmologies, the monotonicity is broken, haloes are more elongated around the virial radius than their ΛCDM counterparts and less elongated closer to the centre. Finally, intrinsic alignment correlations, stemming from the deformation of initially spherically collapsing haloes in an ambient gravitational tidal field, become stronger with decreasing m. At z ∼ 4, we find a 6.4σ-significance in the fractional differences between the isotropized linear alignment magnitudes Diso in the m = 10−22 eV model and ΛCDM. Such FDM-like imprints on the internal properties of virialized haloes are expected to be strikingly visible in the high-z Universe.

     
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  8. ABSTRACT

    The properties of young star clusters formed within a galaxy are thought to vary in different interstellar medium conditions, but the details of this mapping from galactic to cluster scales are poorly understood due to the large dynamic range involved in galaxy and star cluster formation. We introduce a new method for modelling cluster formation in galaxy simulations: mapping giant molecular clouds (GMCs) formed self-consistently in a FIRE-2 magnetohydrodynamic galaxy simulation on to a cluster population according to a GMC-scale cluster formation model calibrated to higher resolution simulations, obtaining detailed properties of the galaxy’s star clusters in mass, metallicity, space, and time. We find $\sim 10{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ of all stars formed in the galaxy originate in gravitationally bound clusters overall, and this fraction increases in regions with elevated Σgas and ΣSFR, because such regions host denser GMCs with higher star formation efficiency. These quantities vary systematically over the history of the galaxy, driving variations in cluster formation. The mass function of bound clusters varies – no single Schechter-like or power-law distribution applies at all times. In the most extreme episodes, clusters as massive as 7 × 106 M⊙ form in massive, dense clouds with high star formation efficiency. The initial mass–radius relation of young star clusters is consistent with an environmentally dependent 3D density that increases with Σgas and ΣSFR. The model does not reproduce the age and metallicity statistics of old ($\gt 11\rm Gyr$) globular clusters found in the Milky Way, possibly because it forms stars more slowly at z > 3.

     
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  9. 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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  10. ABSTRACT

    As the Milky Way and its satellite system become more entrenched in near field cosmology efforts, the need for an accurate mass estimate of the Milky Way’s dark matter halo is increasingly critical. With the second and early third data releases of stellar proper motions from Gaia, several groups calculated full 6D phase-space information for the population of Milky Way satellite galaxies. Utilizing these data in comparison to subhalo properties drawn from the Phat ELVIS simulations, we constrain the Milky Way dark matter halo mass to be ∼1–1.2 × 1012 M⊙. We find that the kinematics of subhaloes drawn from more- or less-massive hosts (i.e. >1.2 × 1012 M⊙ or <1012 M⊙) are inconsistent, at the 3σ confidence level, with the observed velocities of the Milky Way satellites. The preferred host halo mass for the Milky Way is largely insensitive to the exclusion of systems associated with the Large Magellanic Cloud, changes in galaxy formation thresholds, and variations in observational completeness. As more Milky Way satellites are discovered, their velocities (radial, tangential, and total) plus Galactocentric distances will provide further insight into the mass of the Milky Way dark matter halo.

     
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