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  1. ABSTRACT

    The star formation and gas content of satellite galaxies around the Milky Way (MW) and Andromeda (M31) are depleted relative to more isolated galaxies in the Local Group (LG) at fixed stellar mass. We explore the environmental regulation of gas content and quenching of star formation in z = 0 galaxies at $M_{*}=10^{5\!-\!10}\, \rm {M}_{\odot }$ around 14 MW-mass hosts from the Feedback In Realistic Environments 2 (FIRE-2) simulations. Lower mass satellites ($M_{*}\lesssim 10^7\, \rm {M}_{\odot }$) are mostly quiescent and higher mass satellites ($M_{*}\gtrsim 10^8\, \rm {M}_{\odot }$) are mostly star forming, with intermediate-mass satellites ($M_{*}\approx 10^{7\!-\!8}\, \rm {M}_{\odot }$) split roughly equally between quiescent and star forming. Hosts with more gas in their circumgalactic medium have a higher quiescent fraction of massive satellites ($M_{*}=10^{8\!-\!9}\, \rm {M}_{\odot }$). We find no significant dependence on isolated versus paired (LG-like) host environments, and the quiescent fractions of satellites around MW-mass and Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC)-mass hosts from the FIRE-2 simulations are remarkably similar. Environmental effects that lead to quenching can also occur as pre-processing in low-mass groups prior to MW infall. Lower mass satellites typically quenched before MW infall as central galaxies or rapidly during infall into a low-mass group ormore »a MW-mass galaxy. Most intermediate- to high-mass quiescent satellites have experienced ≥1–2 pericentre passages (≈2.5–5 Gyr) within a MW-mass halo. Most galaxies with $M_{*}\gtrsim 10^{6.5}\, \rm {M}_{\odot }$ did not quench before falling into a host, indicating a possible upper mass limit for isolated quenching. The simulations reproduce the average trend in the LG quiescent fraction across the full range of satellite stellar masses. Though the simulations are consistent with the Satellites Around Galactic Analogs (SAGA) survey’s quiescent fraction at $M_{*}\gtrsim 10^8\, \rm {M}_{\odot }$, they do not generally reproduce SAGA’s turnover at lower masses.

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  2. 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.

  3. ABSTRACT

    We use FIRE simulations to study disc formation in z ∼ 0, Milky Way-mass galaxies, and conclude that a key ingredient for the formation of thin stellar discs is the ability for accreting gas to develop an aligned angular momentum distribution via internal cancellation prior to joining the galaxy. Among galaxies with a high fraction ($\gt 70{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$) of their young stars in a thin disc (h/R ∼ 0.1), we find that: (i) hot, virial-temperature gas dominates the inflowing gas mass on halo scales (≳20 kpc), with radiative losses offset by compression heating; (ii) this hot accretion proceeds until angular momentum support slows inward motion, at which point the gas cools to $\lesssim 10^4\, {\rm K}$; (iii) prior to cooling, the accreting gas develops an angular momentum distribution that is aligned with the galaxy disc, and while cooling transitions from a quasi-spherical spatial configuration to a more-flattened, disc-like configuration. We show that the existence of this ‘rotating cooling flow’ accretion mode is strongly correlated with the fraction of stars forming in a thin disc, using a sample of 17 z ∼ 0 galaxies spanning a halo mass range of 1010.5 M⊙ ≲ Mh ≲ 1012 M⊙ and stellarmore »mass range of 108 M⊙ ≲ M⋆ ≲ 1011 M⊙. Notably, galaxies with a thick disc or irregular morphology do not undergo significant angular momentum alignment of gas prior to accretion and show no correspondence between halo gas cooling and flattening. Our results suggest that rotating cooling flows (or, more generally, rotating subsonic flows) that become coherent and angular momentum-supported prior to accretion on to the galaxy are likely a necessary condition for the formation of thin, star-forming disc galaxies in a ΛCDM universe.

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  4. ABSTRACT

    We use FIRE-2 zoom cosmological simulations of Milky Way size Galaxy haloes to calculate astrophysical J-factors for dark matter annihilation and indirect detection studies. In addition to velocity-independent (s-wave) annihilation cross-sections 〈σv〉, we also calculate effective J-factors for velocity-dependent models, where the annihilation cross-section is either p-wave (∝ v2/c2) or d-wave (∝ v4/c4). We use 12 pairs of simulations, each run with dark matter-only (DMO) physics and FIRE-2 physics. We observe FIRE runs produce central dark matter velocity dispersions that are systematically larger than in DMO runs by factors of ∼2.5–4. They also have a larger range of central (∼400 pc) dark matter densities than the DMO runs (ρFIRE/ρDMO ≃ 0.5–3) owing to the competing effects of baryonic contraction and feedback. At 3 deg from the Galactic Centre, FIRE J-factors are 3–60 (p-wave) and 10–500 (d-wave) times higher than in the DMO runs. The change in s-wave signal at 3 deg is more modest and can be higher or lower (∼0.3–7), though the shape of the emission profile is flatter (less peaked towards the Galactic Centre) and more circular on the sky in FIRE runs. Our results for s-wave are broadly consistent with the range of assumptions in most indirect detection studies. We observemore »p-wave J-factors that are significantly enhanced compared to most past estimates. We find that thermal models with p-wave annihilation may be within range of detection in the near future.

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  5. Abstract

    The formation of globular clusters and their relation to the distribution of dark matter have long puzzled astronomers. One of the most recently proposed globular cluster formation channels ties ancient star clusters to the large-scale streaming velocity of baryons relative to dark matter in the early universe. These streaming velocities affect the global infall of baryons into dark matter halos, the high-redshift halo mass function, and the earliest generations of stars. In some cases, streaming velocities may result in dense regions of dark matter-free gas that becomes Jeans unstable, potentially leading to the formation of compact star clusters. We investigate this hypothesis using cosmological hydrodynamical simulations that include a full chemical network and the formation and destruction of H2, a process crucial for the formation of the first stars. We find that high-density gas in regions with significant streaming velocities is indeed somewhat offset from the centers of dark matter halos, but this offset is typically significantly smaller than the virial radius. Gas outside of dark matter halos never reaches Jeans-unstable densities in our simulations. We postulate that low-level (Z≈ 10−3Z) metal enrichment by Population III supernovae may enable cooling in the extra-virial regions, allowing gas outside of darkmore »matter halos to cool to the cosmic microwave background temperature and become Jeans unstable. Follow-up simulations that include both streaming velocities and metal enrichment by Population III supernovae are needed to understand if streaming velocities provide one path for the formation of globular clusters in the early universe.

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  6. Abstract

    We use deep narrowband CaHK (F395N) imaging taken with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) to construct the metallicity distribution function (MDF) of Local Group ultra-faint dwarf galaxy EridanusII(EriII). When combined with archival F475W and F814W data, we measure metallicities for 60 resolved red giant branch stars as faint asmF475W∼ 24 mag, a factor of ∼4× more stars than current spectroscopic MDF determinations. We find that EriIIhas a mean metallicity of [Fe/H] = −2.500.07+0.07and a dispersion ofσ[Fe/H]=0.420.06+0.06, which are consistent with spectroscopic MDFs, though more precisely constrained owing to a larger sample. We identify a handful of extremely metal-poor star candidates (EMP; [Fe/H] < −3) that are marginally bright enough for spectroscopic follow-up. The MDF of EriIIappears well described by a leaky box chemical evolution model. We also compute an updated orbital history for EriIIusing Gaia eDR3 proper motions, and find that it is likely on first infall into the Milky Way. Our findings suggest that EriIIunderwent an evolutionary history similar to that of an isolated galaxy. Compared to MDFs for select cosmological simulations of similar mass galaxies, we find that EriIIhas a lower fraction of stars withmore »[Fe/H] < −3, though such comparisons should currently be treated with caution due to a paucity of simulations, selection effects, and known limitations of CaHK for EMPs. This study demonstrates the power of deep HST CaHK imaging for measuring the MDFs of UFDs.

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  7. ABSTRACT

    Galaxy sizes correlate closely with the sizes of their parent dark matter haloes, suggesting a link between halo formation and galaxy growth. However, the precise nature of this relation and its scatter remains to be understood fully, especially for low-mass galaxies. We analyse the galaxy–halo size relation (GHSR) for low-mass ($M_\star \sim 10^{7-9}\, {\rm M}_\odot$) central galaxies over the past 12.5 billion years with the help of cosmological volume simulations (FIREbox) from the Feedback in Realistic Environments (FIRE) project. We find a nearly linear relationship between the half-stellar mass galaxy size R1/2 and the parent dark matter halo virial radius Rvir. This relation evolves only weakly since redshift z = 5: $R_{1/2}\, [{\rm kpc}] = (0.053\pm 0.002)(R_{\rm vir}/35\, {\rm kpc})^{0.934\pm 0.054}$, with a nearly constant scatter $\langle \sigma \rangle = 0.084\, [{\rm dex}]$. While this ratio is similar to what is expected from models where galaxy disc sizes are set by halo angular momentum, the low-mass galaxies in our sample are not angular momentum supported, with stellar rotational to circular velocity ratios vrot/vcirc ∼ 0.15. Introducing redshift as another parameter to the GHSR does not decrease the scatter. Furthermore, this scatter does not correlate with any of the halo propertiesmore »we investigate – including spin and concentration – suggesting that baryonic processes and feedback physics are instead critical in setting the scatter in the GHSR. Given the relatively small scatter and the weak dependence of the GHSR on redshift and halo properties for these low-mass central galaxies, we propose using galaxy sizes as an independent method from stellar masses to infer halo masses.

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  8. Abstract The recent discovery of the extremely lensed Earendel object at z = 6.2 is remarkable in that it is likely a single star or stellar multiple, observed within the first billion years of cosmic history. Depending on its mass, which is still uncertain but will soon be more tightly constrained with the James Webb Space Telescope, the Earendel star might even be a member of the first generation of stars, the so-called Population III (Pop III). By combining results from detailed cosmological simulations of the assembly of the first galaxies, including the enrichment of the pristine gas with heavy chemical elements, with assumptions on key stellar parameters, we quantify the probability that Earendel indeed has a Pop III origin. We find that this probability is nonnegligible throughout the mass range inferred for Earendel, specifically ranging from a few percent at the lower-mass end to near unity for some Pop III initial mass function (IMF) models toward the high-mass end of the allowed range. For models that extend the metal-enriched IMF to 500 M ⊙ , the likelihood of Earendel being a Pop III star stays at the few to 10% level. We discuss the implications of such a discoverymore »for the overall endeavor to probe the hitherto so elusive first stars in the universe.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2023
  9. 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
  10. ABSTRACT Characterizing the predicted environments of dwarf galaxies like the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) is becoming increasingly important as next-generation surveys push sensitivity limits into this low-mass regime at cosmological distances. We study the environmental effects of LMC-mass haloes (M200m ∼ 1011 M⊙) on their populations of satellites (M⋆ ≥ 104 M⊙) using a suite of zoom-in simulations from the Feedback In Realistic Environments (FIRE) project. Our simulations predict significant hot coronas with T ∼ 105 K and Mgas ∼ 109.5 M⊙. We identify signatures of environmental quenching in dwarf satellite galaxies, particularly for satellites with intermediate mass (M⋆ = 106–107 M⊙). The gas content of such objects indicates ram pressure as the likely quenching mechanism, sometimes aided by star formation feedback. Satellites of LMC-mass hosts replicate the stellar mass dependence of the quiescent fraction found in satellites of Milky Way-mass hosts (i.e. that the quiescent fraction increases as stellar mass decreases). Satellites of LMC-mass hosts have a wider variety of quenching times when compared to the strongly bimodal distribution of quenching times of nearby centrals. Finally, we identify significant tidal stellar structures around four of our six LMC analogues, suggesting that stellar streams may be common. These tidal features originatedmore »from satellites on close orbits, extend to ∼80 kpc from the central galaxy, and contain ∼106–107 M⊙ of stars.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 6, 2023