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Gas infall and radial transport in cosmological simulations of milky way-mass discs

Trapp, Cameron W. and Kereš, Dušan and Chan, Tsang Keung and Escala, Ivanna and Hummels, Cameron and Hopkins, Philip F. and Faucher-Giguère, Claude-André and Murray, Norman and Quataert, Eliot and Wetzel, Andrew (2022) Gas infall and radial transport in cosmological simulations of milky way-mass discs. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 509 (3). pp. 4149-4170. ISSN 0035-8711. doi:10.1093/mnras/stab3251.

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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 (M_(halo) ∼ 10¹² M_⊙), 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’ star 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.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper ItemGIZMO code ItemFIRE website
Trapp, Cameron W.0000-0001-7813-0268
Kereš, Dušan0000-0002-1666-7067
Chan, Tsang Keung0000-0003-2544-054X
Escala, Ivanna0000-0002-9933-9551
Hummels, Cameron0000-0002-3817-8133
Hopkins, Philip F.0000-0003-3729-1684
Faucher-Giguère, Claude-André0000-0002-4900-6628
Quataert, Eliot0000-0001-9185-5044
Wetzel, Andrew0000-0003-0603-8942
Alternate Title:Gas infall and radial transport in cosmological simulations of Milky Way-mass disks
Additional Information:© 2021 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Astronomical Society. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model ( Accepted 2021 October 31. Received 2021 October 27; in original form 2021 May 24. DK was supported by National Science Foundation (NSF) grants AST-1715101 and AST-2108314, and the Cottrell Scholar Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. CAFG was supported by NSF through grants AST-1715216 and CAREER award AST-1652522; by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)through grant 17-ATP17-0067; and by a Cottrell Scholar Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. Support for PFH was provided by NSF Research Grants 1911233 & 20009234, NSF CAREER grant 1455342, NASA grants 80NSSC18K0562, HST-AR-15800.001-A. Numerical calculations were run on the Caltech compute cluster ‘Wheeler,’ allocations FTA-Hopkins/AST20016 supported by the NSF and the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC), and NASA HEC SMD-16-7592. TKC was supported by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) through Consolidated Grants ST/P000541/1 and ST/T000244/1 for Astronomy at Durham. IE was supported by a Carnegie-Princeton Fellowship through the Carnegie Observatories. AW received support from NSF CAREER grant 2045928; NASA Astrophysics Theory Program (ATP) grants 80NSSC18K1097 and 80NSSC20K0513; Hubble Space Telescope (HST) grants GO-14734, AR-15057,AR-15809, and GO-15902 from Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI); a Scialog Award from the Heising-Simons Foundation; and a Hellman Fellowship. The simulations presented here used computational resources granted by the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE), which is supported by National Science Foundation (NSF) grant no. OCI-1053575, specifically allocation TG-AST120025 and resources provided by PRAC NSF.1713353 supported by the NSF. This work also made use of MATPLOTLIB (Hunter 2007), NUMPY (van der Walt, Colbert & Varoquaux 2011), SCIPY (Jones 2001), and NASA’s Astrophysics Data System. We would like to thank the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF) under grant no. NSF PHY-1748958, and the participants of the Fundamentals of Gaseous Halos program for interactions that improved this work. DATA AVAILABILITY. The data supporting the plots within this article are available on reasonable request to the corresponding author. A public version of the GIZMO code is available at (Hopkins 2015). Additional data including simulation snapshots, initial conditions, and derived data products are available at et al. 2018).
Group:TAPIR, Walter Burke Institute for Theoretical Physics
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Cottrell Scholar of Research CorporationUNSPECIFIED
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)ST/P000541/1
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)ST/T000244/1
Carnegie-Princeton FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
NASA Hubble FellowshipGO-14734
NASA Hubble FellowshipAR-15057
NASA Hubble FellowshipAR-15809
NASA Hubble FellowshipGO-15902
Heising-Simons FoundationScialog Award
Hellman FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:stars: formation, galaxies: evolution, galaxies: kinematics and dynamics, galaxies: spiral
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220228-619586000
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Cameron W Trapp, Dušan Kereš, Tsang Keung Chan, Ivanna Escala, Cameron Hummels, Philip F Hopkins, Claude-André Faucher-Giguère, Norman Murray, Eliot Quataert, Andrew Wetzel, Gas infall and radial transport in cosmological simulations of milky way-mass discs, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 509, Issue 3, January 2022, Pages 4149–4170,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:113628
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:01 Mar 2022 18:57
Last Modified:01 Mar 2022 18:57

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