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FIREbox: Simulating galaxies at high dynamic range in a cosmological volume

Feldmann, Robert and Quataert, Eliot and Faucher-Giguère, Claude-André and Hopkins, Philip F. and Çatmabacak, Onur and Kereš, Dušan and Bassini, Luigi and Bernardini, Mauro and Bullock, James S. and Cenci, Elia and Gensior, Jindra and Liang, Lichen and Moreno, Jorge and Wetzel, Andrew (2022) FIREbox: Simulating galaxies at high dynamic range in a cosmological volume. . (Unpublished)

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We introduce a suite of cosmological volume simulations to study the evolution of galaxies at high numerical resolution as part of the Feedback in Realistic Environments project. FIREbox, the principal simulation of the present suite, provides a representative sample of galaxies (~1000 galaxies with Mₛₜₐᵣ > 10^8 M_⊙ at z = 0) at a resolution (~ 20 pc, m_b ~ 6 x 10⁴ M_⊙) comparable to state-of-the-art galaxy zoom-in simulations. Furthermore, FIREbox captures the multiphase nature of the interstellar medium in a fully cosmological setting (L = 22.1 Mpc) thanks to its exceptionally high dynamic range (~10⁶) and the inclusion of multi-channel stellar feedback. Here, we focus on validating the predictions of FIREbox by comparing to observational data. We find that, at a given stellar mass (for Mₛₜₐᵣ < 10^(10.5-11) M_⊙), simulated galaxies have star formation rates, atomic and molecular gas masses, gas phase and stellar metallicities in broad agreement with observations. In addition, FIREbox shows that these galaxy scaling relations extend to the low mass regime (Mₛₜₐᵣ ~ 10⁷ M_⊙) and follow a (broken) power-law relationship. Also reproduced are the evolution of the cosmic HI density and the HI column density distribution at z ~ 0-5. At low z, FIREbox predicts a peak in the stellar-mass--halo-mass relation, but also a higher abundance of massive galaxies and a higher cosmic star formation rate density than observed, showing that stellar feedback alone is insufficient to reproduce the properties of massive galaxies at late times. Given its high resolution and sample size, FIREbox offers a baseline prediction of galaxy formation theory in a ΛCDM Universe while also highlighting modeling challenges to be addressed in next generation galaxy simulations.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper ItemGIZMO code ItemFIRE data releases
Feldmann, Robert0000-0002-1109-1919
Quataert, Eliot0000-0001-9185-5044
Faucher-Giguère, Claude-André0000-0002-4900-6628
Hopkins, Philip F.0000-0003-3729-1684
Çatmabacak, Onur0000-0003-4067-1434
Kereš, Dušan0000-0002-1666-7067
Bassini, Luigi0000-0002-6864-7762
Bernardini, Mauro0000-0002-2930-9509
Bullock, James S.0000-0003-4298-5082
Cenci, Elia0000-0002-0766-1704
Gensior, Jindra0000-0001-6119-9883
Liang, Lichen0000-0001-9422-0095
Moreno, Jorge0000-0002-3430-3232
Wetzel, Andrew0000-0003-0603-8942
Additional Information:RF thanks Oliver Hahn, Marcel van Daalen, and Jose Oñorbe for help with MUSIC and CAMB. RF acknowledges financial support from the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant no PP00P2_157591, PP00P2_194814, 200021_188552). EQ was supported in part by a Simons Investigator grant from the Simons Foundation and NSF AST grant 2107872. CAFG was supported by NSF through grants AST-1715216, AST-2108230, and CAREER award AST-1652522; by NASA through grants 17-ATP17-0067 and 21-ATP21-0036; by STScI through grants HST-AR-16124.001-A and HST-GO-16730.016-A; by CXO through grant TM2-23005X; and by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement through a Cottrell Scholar Award. Support for PFH was provided by NSF Research Grants 1911233, 20009234, 2108318, NSF CAREER grant 1455342, NASA grants 80NSSC18K0562, HST-AR-15800. Numerical calculations were run on the allocations AST21010 and AST20016 supported by the NSF and TACC, and NASA HEC SMD-16-7592. DK was supported by the NSF Grant AST-2108314. LB, MB, and EC acknowledge financial support from the Swiss National Science Foundation (PP00P2_194814, 200021_188552). JSB was supported by NSF grant AST-1910346. JG gratefully acknowledges financial support from the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant no CRSII5_193826). Sabbatical leave support for JM was provided by Pomona College and the Harry and Grace Steele Foundation. AW received support from: NSF via CAREER award AST-2045928 and grant AST-2107772; NASA ATP grant 80NSSC20K0513; HST grants AR-15809, GO-15902, GO-16273 from STScI. We acknowledge PRACE for awarding us access to MareNostrum at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), Spain. This research was partly carried out via the Frontera computing project at the Texas Advanced Computing Center. Frontera is made possible by National Science Foundation award OAC-1818253. This work was supported in part by a grant from the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS) under project IDs s697 and s698. We acknowledge access to Piz Daint at the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre, Switzerland under the University of Zurich’s share with the project ID uzh18. This work made use of infrastructure services provided by S3IT (, the Service and Support for Science IT team at the University of Zurich. All plots were created with the Matplotlib library for visualization with Python (Hunter 2007). This research has made use of NASA’s Astrophysics Data System. DATA AVAILABILITY STATEMENT. 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 data releases are publicly available at
Group:Astronomy Department, TAPIR
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)PP00P2_157591
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)PP00P2_194814
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)200021_188552
Simons FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Cottrell Scholar of Research CorporationUNSPECIFIED
Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC)UNSPECIFIED
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)CRSII5_193826
Harry and Grace Steele FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS)s697
Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS)s698
Swiss National Supercomputing Centre (CSCS)uzh18
University of ZurichUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:galaxies: evolution – galaxies: ISM – galaxies: stellar content – galaxies: star formation – methods: numerical
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220816-222025211
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:116336
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:17 Aug 2022 21:12
Last Modified:02 Jun 2023 01:25

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