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Galaxies on FIRE (Feedback In Realistic Environments): Stellar Feedback Explains Cosmologically Inefficient Star Formation

Hopkins, Philip F. and Kereš, Dušan and Oñorbe, José and Faucher-Giguère, Claude-André and Quataert, Eliot and Murray, Norman and Bullock, James S. (2013) Galaxies on FIRE (Feedback In Realistic Environments): Stellar Feedback Explains Cosmologically Inefficient Star Formation. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society . ISSN 0035-8711.

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We present a series of high-resolution cosmological zoom-in simulations of galaxy formation to z = 0, spanning halo masses M_(halo) ~ 10^8-10^(13)M⊙ and stellar masses M* ~ 10^4-10^(11)M⊙. Our simulations include a fully explicit treatment of both the multi-phase ISM (molecular through hot) and stellar feedback. The stellar feedback inputs (energy, momentum, mass, and metal fluxes) are taken directly from stellar population models. These sources of stellar feedback, with zero adjusted parameters, reproduce the observed relation between stellar and halo mass up to M_(halo) ~ 10^(12)M⊙ (including dwarfs, satellites, MW-mass disks, and small groups). By extension, this leads to reasonable agreement with the stellar mass function for M*≾10^(11)M⊙. We predict weak redshift evolution in the M*- M_(halo) relation, consistent with current constraints up to z > 6. We find that the M*- M_(halo) relation in our calculations is relatively insensitive to numerical details, but is sensitive to the feedback physics. Simulations with only supernova feedback fail to reproduce the observed stellar masses, particularly for dwarf and/or high-redshift galaxies: radiative feedback (photo-heating and radiation pressure) is necessary to disrupt molecular clouds and enable efficient coupling of later supernovae explosions to the gas. Instantaneous star formation rates agree well with the observed Kennicutt relation, with weak redshift evolution. The galaxy-averaged Kennicutt relation is very different from the numerically imposed law for converting gas into stars on small scales in the simulation and is instead determined by self-regulation via stellar feedback. We find that feedback reduces star formation rates considerably and produces a reservoir of gas that leads to flatter or rising late-time star formation histories significantly different from the halo accretion history. Feedback also produces large short-timescale variability in galactic star formation rates, especially in dwarf galaxies. Many of these properties of galaxy formation with explicit feedback are not captured by common “sub-grid” galactic wind models.

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Additional Information:Submitted to MNRAS, November, 2013. This work used computational resources granted by the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), which is supported by National Science Foundation grant number OCI-1053575; specifically allocations TG-AST120025 (PI Keres), TG-AST130039 (PI Hopkins), and TG-TG-AST090039 (PI Quataert). Collaboration between institutions for this work was partially supported by a workshop grant from UC-HiPACC. Partial support for PFH was provided by NASA through Einstein Postdoctoral Fellowship Award Number PF1-120083 issued by the Chandra X-ray Observatory Center, which is operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory for and on behalf of the NASA under contract NAS8-03060. JO also thanks the financial support of the Fulbright/MICINN Program and NASA Grant NNX09AG01G. DK acknowledges support from the Hellman Fellowship fund at the UC San Diego and NASA ATP grant NNX11AI97G. CAFG is supported by a fellowship from the Miller Institute for Basic Research in Science and by NASA through Einstein Postdoctoral Fellowship Award number PF3-140106 and grant number 10-ATP10-0187. EQ is supported in part by NASA ATP Grant 12-ATP12-0183, a Simons Investigator award from the Simons Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and the Thomas Alison Schneider Chair in Physics.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Einstein Postdoctoral Fellowship AwardPF1-120083
Hellman Fellowship UNSPECIFIED
Miller Institute for Basic Research in ScienceUNSPECIFIED
NASA Einstein Postdoctoral Fellowship AwardPF3-140106
NASA ATP12-ATP12-0183
Simons FoundationUNSPECIFIED
David and Lucile Packard FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Thomas Alison Schneider Chair in PhysicsUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:galaxies: formation — galaxies: evolution — galaxies: active — stars: formation — cosmology: theory
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20131125-073705692
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:42673
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:02 Dec 2013 21:54
Last Modified:02 Dec 2013 21:54

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