A Caltech Library Service

Magnetic Fields on FIRE: Comparing B-fields in the multiphase ISM and CGM of Simulated L_* Galaxies to Observations

Ponnada, Sam B. and Panopoulou, Georgia V. and Butsky, Iryna S. and Hopkins, Philip F. and Loebman, Sarah R. and Hummels, Cameron and Ji, Suoqing and Wetzel, Andrew and Faucher-Giguère, Claude-André and Hayward, Christopher C. (2022) Magnetic Fields on FIRE: Comparing B-fields in the multiphase ISM and CGM of Simulated L_* Galaxies to Observations. . (Unpublished)

[img] PDF - Submitted Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The physics of magnetic fields (B) and cosmic rays (CRs) have recently been included in simulations of galaxy formation. However, significant uncertainties remain in how these components affect galaxy evolution. To understand their common observational tracers, we analyze the magnetic fields in a set of high-resolution, magneto-hydrodynamic, cosmological simulations of Milky-Way-like galaxies from the FIRE-2 project. We compare mock observables of magnetic field tracers for simulations with and without CRs to observations of Zeeman splitting and rotation/dispersion measures. We find reasonable agreement between simulations and observations in both the neutral and the ionised interstellar medium (ISM). We find that the simulated galaxies with CRs show weaker ISM |B| fields on average compared to their magnetic-field-only counterparts. This is a manifestation of the effects of CRs in the diffuse, low density inner circum-galactic medium (CGM). We find that equipartition between magnetic and cosmic ray energy densities may be valid at large (> 1 kpc) scales for typical ISM densities of Milky-Way-like galaxies, but not in their halos. Within the ISM, the magnetic fields in our simulated galaxies follow a power-law scaling with gas density. The scaling extends down to hydrogen number densities < 300 cm⁻³, in contrast to observationally-derived models, but consistent with the observational measurements. Finally, we generate synthetic rotation measure (RM) profiles for projections of the simulated galaxies and compare to observational constraints in the CGM. While consistent with upper limits, improved data are needed to detect the predicted CGM RMs at 10-200 kpc and better constrain theoretical predictions.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper ItemGIZMO code ItemFIRE-2 simulations ItemJournal Article
Ponnada, Sam B.0000-0002-7484-2695
Panopoulou, Georgia V.0000-0001-7482-5759
Butsky, Iryna S.0000-0003-1257-5007
Hopkins, Philip F.0000-0003-3729-1684
Loebman, Sarah R.0000-0003-3217-5967
Hummels, Cameron0000-0002-3817-8133
Ji, Suoqing0000-0001-9658-0588
Wetzel, Andrew0000-0003-0603-8942
Faucher-Giguère, Claude-André0000-0002-4900-6628
Hayward, Christopher C.0000-0003-4073-3236
Alternate Title:Magnetic Fields on FIRE: Comparing B-fields in the multiphase ISM and CGM of Simulated L* Galaxies to Observations
Additional Information:We wish to recognize and acknowledge the past and present Gabrielino-Tongva people and their Indigenous lands upon which this research was conducted. Additionally, we thank the staff at our institute, without whose endless efforts this work would not be possible during the ongoing pandemic. Support for SP and PFH was provided by NSF Research Grants 1911233, 20009234, 2108318, NSF CAREER grant 1455342, NASA grants 80NSSC18K0562, HST-AR-15800. GVP acknowledges support by NASA through the NASA Hubble Fellowship grant #HST-HF2-51444.001-A awarded by the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Incorporated, under NASA contract NAS5-26555. Numerical calculations were run on the Caltech compute cluster "Wheeler," allocations AST21010 and AST20016 supported by the NSF and TACC, and NASA HEC SMD-16-7592. The Flatiron Institute is supported by the Simons Foundation. 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 FIRE-2 simulations are publicly available (Wetzel et al. 2022) at, though simulations including the physics of MHD and cosmic rays like those analyzed in this study are not yet publicly available. Additional data, including initial conditions and derived data products, are available at
Group:Astronomy Department, TAPIR
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASA Hubble FellowshipHST-HF2-51444.001-A
Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC)UNSPECIFIED
Simons FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:galaxies: formation - galaxies: magnetic fields - galaxies: haloes - ISM: magnetic fields - ISM: cosmic rays
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220816-222018454
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:116334
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:18 Aug 2022 20:09
Last Modified:13 Oct 2022 20:15

Repository Staff Only: item control page