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Published January 2023 | Supplemental Material + Published
Journal Article Open

Realistic H ɪ scale heights of Milky Way-mass galaxies in the FIREbox cosmological volume


Accurately reproducing the thin cold gas discs observed in nearby spiral galaxies has been a long standing issue in cosmological simulations. Here, we present measurements of the radially resolved H ɪ scale height in 22 non-interacting Milky Way-mass galaxies from the FIREbox cosmological volume. We measure the H ɪ scale heights using five different approaches commonly used in the literature: fitting the vertical volume density distribution with a Gaussian, the distance between maximum and half-maximum of the vertical volume density distribution, a semi-empirical description using the velocity dispersion and the galactic gravitational potential, the analytic assumption of hydrostatic equilibrium, and the distance from the midplane which encloses ≳60 per cent of the H ɪ mass. We find median H ɪ scale heights, measured using the vertical volume distribution, that range from ∼100 pc in the galactic centres to ∼800 pc in the outskirts and are in excellent agreement with recent observational results. We speculate that the presence of a realistic multiphase interstellar medium, including cold gas, and realistic stellar feedback are the drivers behind the realistic H ɪ scale heights.

Additional Information

© 2022 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Astronomical Society. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/open_access/funder_policies/chorus/standard_publication_model) We thank an anonymous referee for their helpful and constructive report. JG, RF, and LM gratefully acknowledge financial support from the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant no. CRSII5_193826). RF acknowledges financial support from the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant no. PP00P2_194814 and 200021_188552). 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. CAFG was supported by NSF through grants AST-1715216, AST-2108230, and CAREER award AST-1652522; by NASA through grants 17-ATP17-006 7 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. We acknowledge PRACE for awarding us access to MareNostrum at the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), Spain. 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 (http://www.s3it.uzh.ch), the Service and Support for Science IT team at the University of Zurich. DATA AVAILABILITY. The data supporting the plots in this article will be shared on reasonable request to the corresponding author. A public version of the GIZMO code is available at http://www.tapir.caltech.edu/~phopkins/Site/GIZMO.html.

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Published - slac138.pdf

Supplemental Material - slac138_supplemental_file.pdf


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Additional details

August 22, 2023
August 22, 2023