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What Causes The Formation of Disks and End of Bursty Star Formation?

Hopkins, Philip F. and Gurvich, Alexander B. and Shen, Xuejian and Hafen, Zachary and Grudić, Michael Y. and Kurinchi-Vendhan, Shalini and Hayward, Christopher C. and Jiang, Fangzhou and Orr, Matthew E. and Wetzel, Andrew and Kereš, Dušan and Stern, Jonathan and Faucher-Giguère, Claude-André and Bullock, James and Wheeler, Coral and El-Badry, Kareem and Loebman, Sarah R. and Moreno, Jorge and Boylan-Kolchin, Michael and Quataert, Eliot (2023) What Causes The Formation of Disks and End of Bursty Star Formation? . (Unpublished)

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As they grow, galaxies can transition from irregular/spheroidal with 'bursty' star formation histories (SFHs), to disky with smooth SFHs. But even in simulations, the direct physical cause of such transitions remains unclear. We therefore explore this in a large suite of numerical experiments re-running portions of cosmological simulations with widely varied physics, further validated with existing FIRE simulations. We show that gas supply, cooling/thermodynamics, star formation model, Toomre scale, galaxy dynamical times, and feedback properties do not have a direct causal effect on these transitions. Rather, both the formation of disks and cessation of bursty star formation are driven by the gravitational potential, but in different ways. Disk formation is promoted when the mass profile becomes sufficiently centrally-concentrated in shape (relative to circularization radii): we show that this provides a well-defined dynamical center, ceases to support the global 'breathing modes' which can persist indefinitely in less-concentrated profiles and efficiently destroy disks, promotes orbit mixing to form a coherent angular momentum, and stabilizes the disk. Smooth SF is promoted by the potential or escape velocity (not circular velocity) becoming sufficiently large at the radii of star formation that cool, mass-loaded (momentum-conserving) outflows are trapped/confined near the galaxy, as opposed to escaping after bursts. We discuss the detailed physics, how these conditions arise in cosmological contexts, their relation to other correlated phenomena (e.g. inner halo virialization, vertical disk 'settling'), and observations.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Discussion Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Hopkins, Philip F.0000-0003-3729-1684
Gurvich, Alexander B.0000-0002-6145-3674
Shen, Xuejian0000-0002-6196-823X
Hafen, Zachary0000-0001-7326-1736
Grudić, Michael Y.0000-0002-1655-5604
Hayward, Christopher C.0000-0003-4073-3236
Jiang, Fangzhou0000-0001-6115-0633
Orr, Matthew E.0000-0003-1053-3081
Wetzel, Andrew0000-0003-0603-8942
Kereš, Dušan0000-0002-1666-7067
Stern, Jonathan0000-0002-7541-9565
Faucher-Giguère, Claude-André0000-0002-4900-6628
Bullock, James0000-0003-4298-5082
El-Badry, Kareem0000-0002-6871-1752
Loebman, Sarah R.0000-0003-3217-5967
Moreno, Jorge0000-0002-3430-3232
Boylan-Kolchin, Michael0000-0002-9604-343X
Quataert, Eliot0000-0001-9185-5044
Additional Information:We thank Alyson Brooks, Vadim Semenov, and Charlie Conroy for helpful conversations during the development of this draft. 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 supported by the NSF and TACC, and NASA HEC SMD-16-7592. MBK acknowledges support from NSF CAREER award AST-1752913, NSF grants AST-1910346 and AST-2108962, NASA grant 80NSSC22K0827, and HST-AR-15809, HST-GO-15658, HST-GO-15901, HST-GO-15902, HST-AR-16159, and HST-GO-16226 from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by AURA, Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555. 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. ZH was supported by a Gary A. McCue postdoctoral fellowship at UC Irvine. The Flatiron Institute is supported by the Simons Foundation. This work made use of the FIRE data repository hosted by the Flatiron Institute. DATA AVAILABILITY STATEMENT. The data supporting this article are available on reasonable request to the corresponding author.
Group:Astronomy Department
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Cottrell Scholar of Research CorporationUNSPECIFIED
University of California, IrvineUNSPECIFIED
Simons FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20230201-220009689
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:118982
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:02 Feb 2023 15:58
Last Modified:02 Feb 2023 15:58

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