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  1. Abstract

    We use hydrodynamical simulations of two Milky Way–mass galaxies to demonstrate the impact of cosmic-ray pressure on the kinematics of cool and warm circumgalactic gas. Consistent with previous studies, we find that cosmic-ray pressure can dominate over thermal pressure in the inner 50 kpc of the circumgalactic medium (CGM), creating an overall cooler CGM than that of similar galaxy simulations run without cosmic rays. We generate synthetic sight lines of the simulated galaxies’ CGM and use Voigt profile-fitting methods to extract ion column densities, Doppler-bparameters, and velocity centroids of individual absorbers. We directly compare these synthetic spectral line fits with HST/COS CGM absorption-line data analyses, which tend to show that metallic species with a wide range of ionization potential energies are often kinematically aligned. Compared to the Milky Way simulation run without cosmic rays, the presence of cosmic-ray pressure in the inner CGM creates narrower Oviabsorption features and broader Siiiiabsorption features, a quality that is more consistent with observational data. Additionally, because the cool gas is buoyant due to nonthermal cosmic-ray pressure support, the velocity centroids of both cool and warm gas tend to align in the simulated Milky Way with feedback from cosmic rays. Our study demonstrates thatmore »detailed, direct comparisons between simulations and observations, focused on gas kinematics, have the potential to reveal the dominant physical mechanisms that shape the CGM.

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  2. ABSTRACT

    We present the first simulations evolving resolved spectra of cosmic rays (CRs) from MeV–TeV energies (including electrons, positrons, (anti)protons, and heavier nuclei), in live kinetic-magnetohydrodynamics galaxy simulations with star formation and feedback. We utilize new numerical methods including terms often neglected in historical models, comparing Milky Way analogues with phenomenological scattering coefficients ν to Solar-neighbourhood [Local interstellar medium (LISM)] observations (spectra, B/C, e+/e−, $\mathrm{\bar{p}}/\mathrm{p}$, 10Be/9Be, ionization, and γ-rays). We show it is possible to reproduce observations with simple single-power-law injection and scattering coefficients (scaling with rigidity R), similar to previous (non-dynamical) calculations. We also find: (1) The circumgalactic medium in realistic galaxies necessarily imposes an $\sim 10\,$ kpc CR scattering halo, influencing the required ν(R). (2) Increasing the normalization of ν(R) re-normalizes CR secondary spectra but also changes primary spectral slopes, owing to source distribution and loss effects. (3) Diffusive/turbulent reacceleration is unimportant and generally sub-dominant to gyroresonant/streaming losses, which are sub-dominant to adiabatic/convective terms dominated by $\sim 0.1-1\,$ kpc turbulent/fountain motions. (4) CR spectra vary considerably across galaxies; certain features can arise from local structure rather than transport physics. (5) Systematic variation in CR ionization rates between LISM and molecular clouds (or Galactic position) arises naturally without invoking alternativemore »sources. (6) Abundances of CNO nuclei require most CR acceleration occurs around when reverse shocks form in SNe, not in OB wind bubbles or later Sedov–Taylor stages of SNe remnants.

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  3. Abstract

    The thermal Sunyaev–Zel’dovich (tSZ) effect is a powerful tool with the potential for constraining directly the properties of the hot gas that dominates dark matter halos because it measures pressure and thus thermal energy density. Studying this hot component of the circumgalactic medium (CGM) is important because it is strongly impacted by star formation and active galactic nucleus (AGN) activity in galaxies, participating in the feedback loop that regulates star and black hole mass growth in galaxies. We study the tSZ effect across a wide halo-mass range using three cosmological hydrodynamical simulations: Illustris-TNG, EAGLE, and FIRE-2. Specifically, we present the scaling relation between the tSZ signal and halo mass and the (mass-weighted) radial profiles of gas density, temperature, and pressure for all three simulations. The analysis includes comparisons to Planck tSZ observations and to the thermal pressure profile inferred from the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) measurements. We compare these tSZ data to simulations to interpret the measurements in terms of feedback and accretion processes in the CGM. We also identify as-yet unobserved potential signatures of these processes that may be visible in future measurements, which will have the capability of measuring tSZ signals to even lower masses. We alsomore »perform internal comparisons between runs with different physical assumptions. We conclude (1) there is strong evidence for the impact of feedback atR500, but that this impact decreases by 5R500, and (2) the thermodynamic profiles of the CGM are highly dependent on the implemented model, such as cosmic-ray or AGN feedback prescriptions.

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  4. 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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  5. ABSTRACT

    Observations indicate that a continuous supply of gas is needed to maintain observed star formation rates in large, discy galaxies. To fuel star formation, gas must reach the inner regions of such galaxies. Despite its crucial importance for galaxy evolution, how and where gas joins galaxies is poorly constrained observationally and rarely explored in fully cosmological simulations. To investigate gas accretion in the vicinity of galaxies at low redshift, we analyse the FIRE-2 cosmological zoom-in simulations for 4 Milky Way mass galaxies (Mhalo ∼ 1012M⊙), focusing on simulations with cosmic ray physics. We find that at z ∼ 0, gas approaches the disc with angular momentum similar to the gaseous disc edge and low radial velocities, piling-up near the edge and settling into full rotational support. Accreting gas moves predominately parallel to the disc and joins largely in the outskirts. Immediately prior to joining the disc, trajectories briefly become more vertical on average. Within the disc, gas motion is complex, being dominated by spiral arm induced oscillations and feedback. However, time and azimuthal averages show slow net radial infall with transport speeds of 1–3 km s−1 and net mass fluxes through the disc of ∼M⊙ yr−1, comparable to the galaxies’ starmore »formation rates and decreasing towards galactic centre as gas is sunk into star formation. These rates are slightly higher in simulations without cosmic rays (1–7 km s−1, ∼4–5 M⊙ yr−1). We find overall consistency of our results with observational constraints and discuss prospects of future observations of gas flows in and around galaxies.

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  6. ABSTRACT We derive a consistent set of moment equations for cosmic ray (CR)-magnetohydrodynamics, assuming a gyrotropic distribution function (DF). Unlike previous efforts, we derive a closure, akin to the M1 closure in radiation hydrodynamics (RHD), that is valid in both the nearly isotropic DF and/or strong-scattering regimes, and the arbitrarily anisotropic DF or free-streaming regimes, as well as allowing for anisotropic scattering and transport/magnetic field structure. We present the appropriate two-moment closure and equations for various choices of evolved variables, including the CR phase space DF f, number density n, total energy e, kinetic energy ϵ, and their fluxes or higher moments, and the appropriate coupling terms to the gas. We show that this naturally includes and generalizes a variety of terms including convection/fluid motion, anisotropic CR pressure, streaming, diffusion, gyro-resonant/streaming losses, and re-acceleration. We discuss how this extends previous treatments of CR transport including diffusion and moment methods and popular forms of the Fokker–Planck equation, as well as how this differs from the analogous M1-RHD equations. We also present two different methods for incorporating a reduced speed of light (RSOL) to reduce time-step limitations: In both, we carefully address where the RSOL (versus true c) must appear for themore »correct behaviour to be recovered in all interesting limits, and show how current implementations of CRs with an RSOL neglect some additional terms.« less
  7. ABSTRACT We characterize mass, momentum, energy, and metal outflow rates of multiphase galactic winds in a suite of FIRE-2 cosmological ‘zoom-in’ simulations from the Feedback in Realistic Environments (FIRE) project. We analyse simulations of low-mass dwarfs, intermediate-mass dwarfs, Milky Way-mass haloes, and high-redshift massive haloes. Consistent with previous work, we find that dwarfs eject about 100 times more gas from their interstellar medium (ISM) than they form in stars, while this mass ‘loading factor’ drops below one in massive galaxies. Most of the mass is carried by the hot phase (>105 K) in massive haloes and the warm phase (103−105 K) in dwarfs; cold outflows (<103 K) are negligible except in high-redshift dwarfs. Energy, momentum, and metal loading factors from the ISM are of order unity in dwarfs and significantly lower in more massive haloes. Hot outflows have 2−5 × higher specific energy than needed to escape from the gravitational potential of dwarf haloes; indeed, in dwarfs, the mass, momentum, and metal outflow rates increase with radius whereas energy is roughly conserved, indicating swept up halo gas. Burst-averaged mass loading factors tend to be larger during more powerful star formation episodes and when the inner halo is not virialized, but we seemore »effectively no trend with the dense ISM gas fraction. We discuss how our results can guide future controlled numerical experiments that aim to elucidate the key parameters governing galactic winds and the resulting associated preventative feedback.« less
  8. ABSTRACT Recent searches for the hosts of z ∼ 4 damped Ly α absorbers (DLAs) have detected bright galaxies at distances of tens of kpc from the DLA. Using the FIRE-2 cosmological zoom simulations, we argue that these relatively large distances are due to a predominantly cool and neutral inner circumgalactic medium (CGM) surrounding high-redshift galaxies. The inner CGM is cool because of the short cooling time of hot gas in ${\lesssim}10^{12}\, {\rm M_{\odot }}$ haloes, which implies that accretion and feedback energy are radiated quickly, while it is neutral due to high volume densities and column densities at high redshift that shield cool gas from photoionization. Our analysis predicts large DLA covering factors (${\gtrsim}50{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$) out to impact parameters ∼0.3[(1 + z)/5]3/2Rvir from the central galaxies at z ≳ 1, equivalent to a proper distance of ${\sim}21\, M_{12}^{1/3} \left(\left(1+z\right)/5\right)^{1/2}\, {\rm kpc}$ (Rvir and M12 are the halo virial radius and mass in units of $10^{12}\, {\rm M_{\odot }}$, respectively). This implies that DLA covering factors at z ∼ 4 may be comparable to unity out to a distance ∼10 times larger than stellar half-mass radii. A predominantly neutral inner CGM in the early universe suggests that its mass andmore »metallicity can be directly constrained by absorption surveys, without resorting to the large ionization corrections as required for ionized CGM.« less
  9. ABSTRACT Without additional heating, radiative cooling of the halo gas of massive galaxies (Milky Way-mass and above) produces cold gas or stars exceeding that observed. Heating from active galactic nucleus (AGN) jets is likely required, but the jet properties remain unclear. This is particularly challenging for galaxy simulations, where the resolution is orders-of-magnitude insufficient to resolve jet formation and evolution. On such scales, the uncertain parameters include the jet energy form [kinetic, thermal, cosmic ray (CR)]; energy, momentum, and mass flux; magnetic fields; opening angle; precession; and duty cycle. We investigate these parameters in a $10^{14}\, {\rm M}_{\odot }$ halo using high-resolution non-cosmological magnetohydrodynamic simulations with the FIRE-2 (Feedback In Realistic Environments) stellar feedback model, conduction, and viscosity. We explore which scenarios qualitatively meet observational constraints on the halo gas and show that CR-dominated jets most efficiently quench the galaxy by providing CR pressure support and modifying the thermal instability. Mildly relativistic (∼MeV or ∼1010K) thermal plasma jets work but require ∼10 times larger energy input. For fixed energy flux, jets with higher specific energy (longer cooling times) quench more effectively. For this halo mass, kinetic jets are inefficient at quenching unless they have wide opening or precession angles. Magnetic fieldsmore »also matter less except when the magnetic energy flux reaches ≳ 1044 erg s−1 in a kinetic jet model, which significantly widens the jet cocoon. The criteria for a successful jet model are an optimal energy flux and a sufficiently wide jet cocoon with a long enough cooling time at the cooling radius.« less