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    In this study, we modify the semi-analytic model galacticus in order to accurately reproduce the observed properties of dwarf galaxies in the Milky Way. We find that reproducing observational determinations of the halo occupation fraction and mass–metallicity relation for dwarf galaxies requires us to include H2 cooling, an updated ultraviolet background radiation model, and to introduce a model for the metal content of the intergalactic medium. By fine-tuning various model parameters and incorporating empirical constraints, we have tailored the model to match the statistical properties of Milky Way dwarf galaxies, such as their luminosity function and size–mass relation. We have validated our modified semi-analytic framework by undertaking a comparative analysis of the resulting galaxy–halo connection. We predict a total of $300 ^{+75} _{-99}$ satellites with an absolute V-band magnitude (MV) less than 0 within 300 kpc from our Milky Way analogues. The fraction of subhaloes that host a galaxy at least this bright drops to 50 per cent by a halo peak mass of ∼8.9 × 107 M⊙, consistent with the occupation fraction inferred from the latest observations of Milky Way satellite population.

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    We use the TNG50 from the IllustrisTNG suite of cosmological hydrodynamical simulation, complemented by a catalogue of tagged globular clusters, to investigate the properties and build up of two extended luminous components: the intra-cluster light (ICL) and the intra-cluster globular clusters (ICGCs). We select the 39 most massive groups and clusters in the box, spanning the range of virial masses $5 \times 10^{12} \lt \rm M_{200}/\rm {\rm M}_{\odot } \lt 2 \times 10^{14}$. We find good agreement between predictions from the simulations and current observational estimates of the fraction of mass in the ICL and its radial extension. The stellar mass of the ICL is only $\sim 10~{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$–20 per cent of the stellar mass in the central galaxy but encodes useful information on the assembly history of the group or cluster. About half the ICL in all our systems is brought in by galaxies in a narrow stellar mass range, M* = 1010–1011 M⊙. However, the contribution of low-mass galaxies (M* < 1010 M⊙) to the build up of the ICL varies broadly from system to system, $\sim 5~{{\ \rm per\ cent}}-45~{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$, a feature that might be recovered from the observable properties of the ICL at z = 0. At fixed virial mass, systems where the accretion of dwarf galaxies plays an important role have shallower metallicity profiles, less metal content, and a lower stellar mass in the ICL than systems where the main contributors are more massive galaxies. We show that intra-cluster GCs are also good tracers of this history, representing a valuable alternative when diffuse light is not detectable.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 23, 2025

    Stellar feedback plays a crucial role in regulating baryon cycles of a galactic ecosystem, and may manifest itself in the formation of superbubbles in the interstellar medium. In this work, we used a set of high-resolution simulations to systematically study the properties and evolution of superbubbles in galactic environments. The simulations were based on the SMUGGLE galaxy formation framework using the hydrodynamical moving-mesh code arepo, reaching a spatial resolution of $\sim 4 \, \rm pc$ and mass resolution of $\sim 10^3 \, \rm M_{\odot }$. We identified superbubbles and tracked their time evolution using the parent stellar associations within the bubbles. The X-ray luminosity-size distribution of superbubbles in the fiducial run is largely consistent with the observations of nearby galaxies. The size of superbubbles shows a double-peaked distribution, with the peaks attributed to early feedback (radiative and stellar wind feedback) and supernova feedback. The early feedback tends to suppress the subsequent supernova feedback, and it is strongly influenced by star formation efficiency, which regulates the environmental density. Our results show that the volume filling factor of hot gas (T > 105.5 K) is about $12~{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ averaged over a region of 4 kpc in height and 20 kpc in radius centred on the disc of the galaxy. Overall, the properties of superbubbles are sensitive to the choice of subgrid galaxy formation models and can, therefore, be used to constrain these models.

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    The velocity dispersion of globular clusters (GCs) around ultra-diffuse galaxies (UDGs) in the Virgo cluster spans a wide range, including cases where GC kinematics suggest haloes as massive as (or even more massive than) that of the Milky Way around these faint dwarfs. We analyse the catalogues of GCs derived in post-processing from the TNG50 cosmological simulation to study the GC system kinematics and abundance of simulated UDGs in galaxy groups and clusters. UDGs in this simulation reside exclusively in dwarf-mass haloes with M200 ≲ 1011.2 M⊙. When considering only GCs gravitationally bound to simulated UDGs, we find GCs properties that overlap well with several observational measurements for UDGs. In particular, no bias towards overly massive haloes is inferred from the study of bound GCs, confirming that GCs are good tracers of UDG halo mass. However, we find that contamination by intracluster GCs may, in some cases, substantially increase velocity dispersion estimates when performing projected mock observations of our sample. We caution that targets with less than 10 GC tracers are particularly prone to severe uncertainties. Measuring the stellar kinematics of the host galaxy should help confirm the unusually massive haloes suggested by GC kinematics around some UDGs.

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    We study the formation of ultradiffuse galaxies (UDGs) using the cosmological hydrodynamical simulation TNG50 of the Illustris-TNG suite. We define UDGs as dwarf galaxies in the stellar mass range $\rm {7.5 \le log (M_{\star } / {\rm M}_{\odot }) \le 9 }$ that are in the 5 per cent most extended tail of the simulated mass–size relation. This results in a sample of UDGs with half-mass radii $\rm {r_{h \star } \gtrsim 2 \ kpc}$ and surface brightness between $\rm {24.5}$ and $\rm {28 \ mag \ arcsec^{-2}}$, similar to definitions of UDGs in observations. The large cosmological volume in TNG50 allows for a comparison of UDGs properties in different environments, from the field to galaxy clusters with virial mass $\rm {M_{200} \sim 2 \times 10^{14} ~ {\rm M}_{\odot }}$. All UDGs in our sample have dwarf-mass haloes ($\rm {M_{200}\sim 10^{11} ~ {\rm M}_{\odot } }$) and show the same environmental trends as normal dwarfs: field UDGs are star-forming and blue while satellite UDGs are typically quiescent and red. The TNG50 simulation predicts UDGs that populate preferentially higher spin haloes and more massive haloes at fixed $\rm {M_{\star }}$ compared to non-UDG dwarfs. This applies also to most satellite UDGs, which are actually ‘born’ UDGs in the field and infall into groups and clusters without significant changes to their size. We find, however, a small subset of satellite UDGs ($\lesssim 10~{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$) with present-day stellar size a factor ≥1.5 larger than at infall, confirming that tidal effects, particularly in the lower mass dwarfs, are also a viable formation mechanism for some of these dwarfs, although sub-dominant in this simulation.

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    The tension between the diverging density profiles in Lambda cold dark matter simulations and the constant-density inner regions of observed galaxies is a long-standing challenge known as the ‘core–cusp’ problem. We demonstrate that the SMUGGLE galaxy formation model implemented in the arepo moving mesh code forms constant-density cores in idealized dwarf galaxies of M⋆ ≈ 8 × 107 Msun with initially cuspy dark matter (DM) haloes of M200 ≈ 1010 Msun. Identical initial conditions run with an effective equation of state interstellar medium model preserve cuspiness. Literature on the subject has pointed to the low density threshold for star formation, ρth, in such effective models as an obstacle to baryon-induced core formation. Using a SMUGGLE run with equal ρth, we demonstrate that core formation can proceed at low density thresholds, indicating that ρth is insufficient on its own to determine whether a galaxy develops a core. We reaffirm that the ability to resolve a multiphase interstellar medium at sufficiently high densities is a more reliable indicator of core formation than any individual model parameter. In SMUGGLE, core formation is accompanied by large degrees of non-circular motion, with gas rotational velocity profiles that consistently fall below the circular velocity $v_\text{circ} = \sqrt{GM/R}$ out to ∼2 kpc. Asymmetric drift corrections help recover the average underlying DM potential for some of our less efficient feedback runs, but time-variations in the instantaneous azimuthal gas velocity component are substantial, highlighting the need for careful modelling in the inner regions of dwarfs to infer the true distribution of DM.

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    We study gas inflows on to supermassive black holes using hydrodynamics simulations of isolated galaxies and idealized galaxy mergers with an explicit, multiphase interstellar medium (ISM). Our simulations use the recently developed ISM and stellar evolution model called Stars and MUltiphase Gas in GaLaxiEs (SMUGGLE). We implement a novel super-Lagrangian refinement scheme that increases the gas mass resolution in the immediate neighbourhood of the black holes (BHs) to accurately resolve gas accretion. We do not include black hole feedback in our simulations. We find that the complex and turbulent nature of the SMUGGLE ISM leads to highly variable BH accretion. BH growth in SMUGGLE converges at gas mass resolutions ≲3 × 103 M⊙. We show that the low resolution simulations combined with the super-Lagrangian refinement scheme are able to produce central gas dynamics and BH accretion rates very similar to that of the uniform high resolution simulations. We further explore BH fueling by simulating galaxy mergers. The interaction between the galaxies causes an inflow of gas towards the galactic centres and results in elevated and bursty star formation. The peak gas densities near the BHs increase by orders of magnitude resulting in enhanced accretion. Our results support the idea that galaxy mergers can trigger AGN activity, although the instantaneous accretion rate depends strongly on the local ISM. We also show that the level of merger-induced enhancement of BH fueling predicted by the SMUGGLE model is much smaller compared to the predictions by simulations using an effective equation of state model of the ISM.

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    We present a post-processing catalogue of globular clusters (GCs) for the 39 most massive groups and clusters in the TNG50 simulation of the IlllustrisTNG project (virial masses $M_{200} =[5\times 10^{12} \rm {\!-\!} 2 \times 10^{14}$] M⊙). We tag GC particles to all galaxies with stellar mass M* ≥ 5 × 106 M⊙, and we calibrate their masses to reproduce the observed power-law relation between GC mass and halo mass for galaxies with M200 ≥ 1011 M⊙ (corresponding to M* ∼ 109 M⊙). Here, we explore whether an extrapolation of this MGC–M200 relation to lower mass dwarfs is consistent with current observations. We find a good agreement between our predicted number and specific frequency of GCs in dwarfs with $\rm {\it M}_*=[5 \times 10^6 \rm {\!-\!} 10^9]$ M⊙ and observations. Moreover, we predict a steep decline in the GC occupation fraction for dwarfs with M* < 109 M⊙ that agrees well with current observational constraints. This declining occupation fraction is due to a combination of tidal stripping in all dwarfs plus a stochastic sampling of the GC mass function for dwarfs with M* < 107.5 M⊙. Our simulations also reproduce available constraints on the abundance of intracluster GCs in Virgo and Centaurus A. These successes provide support to the hypothesis that the MGC–M200 relation holds, albeit with more scatter, all the way down to the regime of classical dwarf spheroidals in these environments. Our GC catalogues are publicly available as part of the IllustrisTNG data release.

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    The abundance of the faintest galaxies provides insight into the nature of dark matter and the process of dwarf galaxy formation. In the LCDM scenario, low-mass haloes are so numerous that the efficiency of dwarf formation must decline sharply with decreasing halo mass in order to accommodate the relative scarcity of observed dwarfs and satellites in the Local Group. The nature of this decline contains important clues to the mechanisms regulating the onset of galaxy formation in the faintest systems. We explore here two possible models for the stellar mass (M*)–halo mass (M200) relation at the faint end, motivated by some of the latest LCDM cosmological hydrodynamical simulations. One model includes a sharp mass threshold below which no luminous galaxies form, as expected if galaxy formation proceeds only in systems above the hydrogen-cooling limit. In the second model, M* scales as a steep power law of M200 with no explicit cut-off, as suggested by recent semi-analytical work. Although both models predict satellite numbers around Milky Way-like galaxies consistent with current observations, they predict vastly different numbers of ultrafaint dwarfs and of satellites around isolated dwarf galaxies. Our results illustrate how the satellite mass function around dwarfs may be used to probe the M*–M200 relation at the faint end and to elucidate the mechanisms that determine which low-mass haloes ‘light up’ or remain dark in the LCDM scenario.

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  10. Abstract

    While it is generally believed that supermassive black holes (SMBHs) lie in most galaxies with bulges, few SMBHs have been confirmed in bulgeless galaxies. Identifying such a population could provide important insights to the BH seed population and secular BH growth. To this end, we obtained near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopic observations of a sample of low-redshift bulgeless galaxies with mid-infrared colors suggestive of active galactic nuclei (AGNs). We find additional evidence of AGN activity (such as coronal lines and broad permitted lines) in 69% (9/13) of the sample, demonstrating that mid-infrared selection is a powerful tool to detect AGNs. More than half of the galaxies with confirmed AGN activity show fast outflows in [Oiii] in the optical and/or [Sivi] in the NIR, with the latter generally having much faster velocities that are also correlated to their spatial extent. We are also able to obtain virial BH masses for some targets and find they fall within the scatter of other late-type galaxies in theMBHMstellarrelation. The fact that they lack a significant bulge component indicates that secular processes, likely independent of major mergers, grew these BHs to supermassive sizes. Finally, we analyze the rotational gas kinematics and find two notable exceptions: two AGN hosts with outflows that appear to be rotating faster than expected. There is an indication that these two galaxies have stellar masses significantly lower than expected from their dark matter halo masses. This, combined with the observed AGN activity and strong gas outflows, may be evidence of the effects of AGN feedback.

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