A Caltech Library Service

How to model supernovae in simulations of star and galaxy formation

Hopkins, Philip F. and Wetzel, Andrew and Kereš, Dušan and Faucher-Giguère, Claude-André and Quataert, Eliot and Boylan-Kolchin, Michael and Murray, Norman and Hayward, Christopher C. and El-Badry, Kareem (2018) How to model supernovae in simulations of star and galaxy formation. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 477 (2). pp. 1578-1603. ISSN 0035-8711.

[img] PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.

[img] PDF - Submitted Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


We study the implementation of mechanical feedback from supernovae (SNe) and stellar mass loss in galaxy simulations, within the Feedback In Realistic Environments (FIRE) project. We present the FIRE-2 algorithm for coupling mechanical feedback, which can be applied to any hydrodynamics method (e.g. fixed-grid, moving-mesh, and mesh-less methods), and black hole as well as stellar feedback. This algorithm ensures manifest conservation of mass, energy, and momentum, and avoids imprinting ‘preferred directions’ on the ejecta. We show that it is critical to incorporate both momentum and thermal energy of mechanical ejecta in a self-consistent manner, accounting for SNe cooling radii when they are not resolved. Using idealized simulations of single SN explosions, we show that the FIRE-2 algorithm, independent of resolution, reproduces converged solutions in both energy and momentum. In contrast, common ‘fully thermal’ (energy-dump) or ‘fully kinetic’ (particle-kicking) schemes in the literature depend strongly on resolution: when applied at mass resolution ≳100 M⊙, they diverge by orders of magnitude from the converged solution. In galaxy-formation simulations, this divergence leads to orders-of-magnitude differences in galaxy properties, unless those models are adjusted in a resolution-dependent way. We show that all models that individually time-resolve SNe converge to the FIRE-2 solution at sufficiently high resolution (<100 M_⊙). However, in both idealized single-SN simulations and cosmological galaxy-formation simulations, the FIRE-2 algorithm converges much faster than other sub-grid models without re-tuning parameters.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Hopkins, Philip F.0000-0003-3729-1684
Wetzel, Andrew0000-0003-0603-8942
Kereš, Dušan0000-0002-1666-7067
Faucher-Giguère, Claude-André0000-0002-4900-6628
Quataert, Eliot0000-0001-9185-5044
Boylan-Kolchin, Michael0000-0002-9604-343X
Hayward, Christopher C.0000-0003-4073-3236
El-Badry, Kareem0000-0002-6871-1752
Additional Information:© 2018 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model ( Accepted 2018 March 12. Received 2018 March 12; in original form 2017 July 14. We thank our referee, Joakim Rosdahl, for a number of insightful comments. Support for PFH and co-authors was provided by an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, NASA ATP Grant NNX14AH35G, and NSF Collaborative Research Gr ant #1411920 and CAREER grant #1455342. AW was supported by a Caltech-Carnegie Fellowship, in part through the Moore Center for Theoretical Cosmology and Physics at Caltech, and by NASA through grant HST-GO-14734 from STScI. CAFG was supported by NSF through grants AST-1412836 and AST-1517491, and by NASA through grant NNX15AB22G. DK was supported by NSF Grant AST1412153 and a Cottrell Scholar Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. The Flatiron Institute is supported by the Simons Foundation. Numerical calculations were run on the Caltech compute cluster ‘Wheeler,’ allocations TG-AST120025, TG-AST130039 and TG-AST150080 granted by the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) supported by the NSF, and the NASA HEC Program through the NAS Division at Ames Research Center and the NCCS at Goddard Space Flight Center.
Group:Moore Center for Theoretical Cosmology and Physics, TAPIR, Astronomy Department
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Caltech-Carnegie FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Moore Center for Theoretical Cosmology and Physics, CaltechUNSPECIFIED
Cottrell Scholar of Research CorporationUNSPECIFIED
Simons FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:stars: formation, galaxies: active, galaxies: evolution, galaxies: formation, cosmology: theory
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180627-140420805
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Philip F Hopkins, Andrew Wetzel, Dušan Kereš, Claude-André Faucher-Giguère, Eliot Quataert, Michael Boylan-Kolchin, Norman Murray, Christopher C Hayward, Kareem El-Badry; How to model supernovae in simulations of star and galaxy formation, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 477, Issue 2, 21 June 2018, Pages 1578–1603,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:87408
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:27 Jun 2018 21:24
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:18

Repository Staff Only: item control page