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Published March 1, 2022 | Submitted
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Probing Hot Gas Components of Circumgalactic Medium in Cosmological Simulations with the Thermal Sunyaev-Zel'dovich Effect


The thermal Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (tSZ) effect is a powerful tool with the potential for constraining directly the properties of the hot gas that dominates dark matter halos because it measures pressure and thus thermal energy density. Studying this hot component of the circumgalactic medium (CGM) is important because it is strongly impacted by star-formation and active galactic nuclei (AGN) activity in galaxies, participating in the feedback loop that regulates star and black hole mass growth in galaxies. We study the tSZ effect across a wide halo mass range using three cosmological hydrodynamical simulations: Illustris-TNG, EAGLE, and FIRE-2. Specifically, we present the scaling relation between tSZ signal and halo mass and radial profiles of gas density, temperature, and pressure for all three simulations. The analysis includes comparisons to Planck tSZ observations and to the thermal pressure profile inferred from the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) measurements. We compare these tSZ data to the simulations to interpret the measurements in terms of feedback and accretion processes in the CGM. We also identify as-yet unobserved potential signatures of these processes that may be visible in future measurements, which will have the capability of measuring tSZ signals to even lower masses. We also perform internal comparisons between runs with different physical assumptions. We conclude: (1) there is strong evidence for the impact of feedback at R₅₀₀ but that this impact decreases by 5R₅₀₀, and (2) the thermodynamic profiles of the CGM are highly dependent on the implemented model, such as cosmic-ray or AGN feedback prescriptions.

Additional Information

Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). We thank Lee Armus for useful discussion and carefully reading the manuscript. JK is supported by a Robert A. Millikan Fellowship from California Institute of Technology (Caltech). JK, JGB, SG, NB, and JCH acknowledge support from the Research and Technology Development fund at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory through the project entitled "Mapping the Baryonic Majority". NB, EM, and SA acknowledges support from NSF grant AST-1910021. 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/AST20016 supported by the NSF and TACC, and NASA HEC SMD-16-7592. JCH acknowledges support from NSF grant AST-2108536. We acknowledge the Virgo Consortium for making their simulation data available. The EAGLE simulations were performed using the DiRAC-2 facility at Durham, managed by the ICC, and the PRACE facility Curie based in France at TGCC, CEA, Bruyèresle-Châtel. A portion of the research described in this paper was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). This research has made use of NASA's Astrophysics Data System Bibliographic Services. Software: astropy (Astropy Collaboration et al. 2013), numpy (Harris et al. 2020), matplotlib (Hunter 2007), Mop-c GT ("Model-to-observable projection code for Galaxy Thermodynamics"), scipy (Virtanen et al. 2020)

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August 20, 2023
October 23, 2023