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(Star)bursts of FIRE: observational signatures of bursty star formation in galaxies

Sparre, Martin and Hayward, Christopher C. and Feldmann, Robert and Faucher-Giguère, Claude-André and Muratov, Alexander L. and Kereš, Dušan and Hopkins, Philip F. (2017) (Star)bursts of FIRE: observational signatures of bursty star formation in galaxies. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 466 (1). pp. 88-104. ISSN 0035-8711.

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Galaxy formation models are now able to reproduce observed relations such as the relation between galaxies’ star formation rates (SFRs) and stellar masses (M^*) and the stellar-mass–halo-mass relation. We demonstrate that comparisons of the short-time-scale variability in galaxy SFRs with observational data provide an additional useful constraint on the physics of galaxy formation feedback. We apply SFR indicators with different sensitivity time-scales to galaxies from the Feedback in Realistic Environments (FIRE) simulations. We find that the SFR–M* relation has a significantly greater scatter when the Hα-derived SFR is considered compared with when the far-ultraviolet (FUV)-based SFR is used. This difference is a direct consequence of bursty star formation because the FIRE galaxies exhibit order-of-magnitude SFR variations over time-scales of a few Myr. We show that the difference in the scatter between the simulated Hα- and FUV-derived SFR–M^* relations at z = 2 is consistent with observational constraints. We also find that the Hα/FUV ratios predicted by the simulations at z = 0 are similar to those observed for local galaxies except for a population of low-mass (M* ≲ 10^(9.5) M_⊙) simulated galaxies with lower Hα/FUV ratios than observed. We suggest that future cosmological simulations should compare the Hα/FUV ratios of their galaxies with observations to constrain the feedback models employed.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Sparre, Martin0000-0002-9735-3851
Hayward, Christopher C.0000-0003-4073-3236
Feldmann, Robert0000-0002-1109-1919
Faucher-Giguère, Claude-André0000-0002-4900-6628
Kereš, Dušan0000-0002-1666-7067
Hopkins, Philip F.0000-0003-3729-1684
Additional Information:© 2016 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. Accepted 2016 November 18. Received 2016 November 18; in original form 2015 October 18. We thank Dan Weisz, Mark Krumholz, Chuck Steidel and the referee for useful discussions. MS thanks the Sapere Aude fellowship programme and acknowledges the hospitality of the California Institute of Technology. CCH is grateful to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation for financial support. CAFG was supported by NSF through grants AST-1412836 and AST-1517491, by NASA through grant NNX15AB22G, and by STScI through grants HST-AR- 14293.001-A and HST-GO-14268.022-A. This work was supported in part by National Science Foundation Grant No. PHYS-1066293 and the hospitality of the Aspen Center for Physics. DK was supported in part by NSF grant AST-1412153 and funds from the University of California San Diego and the Cottrell Scholar Award. We also acknowledge the following computer time allocations: TG-AST120025 (PI: DK), TG-AST130039 (PI: PH), TG-AST1140023 (PI: CAFG).
Group:TAPIR, Astronomy Department
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
University of California, San DiegoUNSPECIFIED
Cottrell Scholar of Research CorporationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:methods: numerical, galaxies: evolution, galaxies: formation, galaxies: starburst, galaxies: star formation, cosmology: theory
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170428-093947287
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Official Citation:Martin Sparre, Christopher C. Hayward, Robert Feldmann, Claude-André Faucher-Giguère, Alexander L. Muratov, Dušan Kereš, Philip F. Hopkins; (Star)bursts of FIRE: observational signatures of bursty star formation in galaxies. Mon Not R Astron Soc 2017; 466 (1): 88-104. doi: 10.1093/mnras/stw3011
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:77050
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:28 Apr 2017 17:11
Last Modified:06 Nov 2019 03:52

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