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The baryon cycle of dwarf galaxies: dark, bursty, gas-rich polluters


Shen, Sijing; Madau, Piero; Conroy, Charlie; Governato, Fabio; Mayer, Lucio (2014). The baryon cycle of dwarf galaxies: dark, bursty, gas-rich polluters. Astrophysical Journal, 792(2):99.

Abstract

We present results from a fully cosmological, very high-resolution, ΛCDM simulation of a group of seven field dwarf galaxies with present-day virial masses in the range M vir = 4.4 × 108-3.6 × 1010 M ⊙. The simulation includes a blastwave scheme for supernova feedback, a star-formation recipe based on a high gas density threshold, metal-dependent radiative cooling, a scheme for the turbulent diffusion of metals and thermal energy, and a uniform UV background. The properties of the simulated dwarfs are strongly modulated by the depth of the gravitational potential well. All three halos with M vir < 109 M ⊙ are devoid of stars, as they never reach the density threshold for star formation of 100 atoms cm-3. The other four, M vir > 109 M ⊙ dwarfs have blue colors, low star-formation efficiencies, high cold gas-to-stellar mass ratios, and low stellar metallicities. Their bursty star-formation histories are characterized by peak specific star-formation rates in excess of 50-100 Gyr-1, far outside the realm of normal, more massive galaxies. The median stellar age of the simulated galaxies decreases with decreasing halo mass, with the two M vir ~= 2-3 × 109 M ⊙ dwarfs being predominantly young, and the two more massive systems hosting intermediate and older populations. The cosmologically young dwarfs are lit up by tidal interactions, have compact morphologies, and have metallicities and cold gas fractions similar to the relatively quiescent, extremely metal-deficient dwarf population. Metal-enriched galactic outflows produce sub-solar effective yields and pollute with heavy elements a megaparsec-size region of the intergalactic medium, but are not sufficient to completely quench star-formation activity and are absent in the faintest dwarfs.

We present results from a fully cosmological, very high-resolution, ΛCDM simulation of a group of seven field dwarf galaxies with present-day virial masses in the range M vir = 4.4 × 108-3.6 × 1010 M ⊙. The simulation includes a blastwave scheme for supernova feedback, a star-formation recipe based on a high gas density threshold, metal-dependent radiative cooling, a scheme for the turbulent diffusion of metals and thermal energy, and a uniform UV background. The properties of the simulated dwarfs are strongly modulated by the depth of the gravitational potential well. All three halos with M vir < 109 M ⊙ are devoid of stars, as they never reach the density threshold for star formation of 100 atoms cm-3. The other four, M vir > 109 M ⊙ dwarfs have blue colors, low star-formation efficiencies, high cold gas-to-stellar mass ratios, and low stellar metallicities. Their bursty star-formation histories are characterized by peak specific star-formation rates in excess of 50-100 Gyr-1, far outside the realm of normal, more massive galaxies. The median stellar age of the simulated galaxies decreases with decreasing halo mass, with the two M vir ~= 2-3 × 109 M ⊙ dwarfs being predominantly young, and the two more massive systems hosting intermediate and older populations. The cosmologically young dwarfs are lit up by tidal interactions, have compact morphologies, and have metallicities and cold gas fractions similar to the relatively quiescent, extremely metal-deficient dwarf population. Metal-enriched galactic outflows produce sub-solar effective yields and pollute with heavy elements a megaparsec-size region of the intergalactic medium, but are not sufficient to completely quench star-formation activity and are absent in the faintest dwarfs.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute for Computational Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:530 Physics
Date:September 2014
Deposited On:30 Sep 2014 12:54
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 18:22
Publisher:IOP Publishing
ISSN:0004-637X
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/792/2/99
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-98785

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