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Clumpy disks as a testbed for feedback-regulated galaxy formation


Mayer, Lucio; Tamburello, Valentina; Lupi, Alessandro; Keller, Ben; Wadsley, James; Madau, Piero (2016). Clumpy disks as a testbed for feedback-regulated galaxy formation. Astrophysical Journal, 830(1):L13.

Abstract

We study the dependence of fragmentation in massive gas-rich galaxy disks at z > 1 on stellar feedback schemes and hydrodynamical solvers, employing the GASOLINE2 SPH code and the lagrangian mesh-less code GIZMO in finite mass mode. Non-cosmological galaxy disk runs with the standard delayed-cooling blastwave feedback are compared with runs adopting a new superbubble feedback, which produces winds by modeling the detailed physics of supernova-driven bubbles and leads to efficient self-regulation of star formation. We find that, with blastwave feedback, massive star-forming clumps form in comparable number and with very similar masses in GASOLINE2 and GIZMO. Typical clump masses are in the range 107-108 M ⊙, lower than in most previous works, while giant clumps with masses above 109 M ⊙ are exceedingly rare. By contrast, superbubble feedback does not produce massive star-forming bound clumps as galaxies never undergo a phase of violent disk instability. In this scheme, only sporadic, unbound star-forming overdensities lasting a few tens of Myr can arise, triggered by non-linear perturbations from massive satellite companions. We conclude that there is severe tension between explaining massive star-forming clumps observed at z > 1 primarily as the result of disk fragmentation driven by gravitational instability and the prevailing view of feedback-regulated galaxy formation. The link between disk stability and star formation efficiency should thus be regarded as a key testing ground for galaxy formation theory.

Abstract

We study the dependence of fragmentation in massive gas-rich galaxy disks at z > 1 on stellar feedback schemes and hydrodynamical solvers, employing the GASOLINE2 SPH code and the lagrangian mesh-less code GIZMO in finite mass mode. Non-cosmological galaxy disk runs with the standard delayed-cooling blastwave feedback are compared with runs adopting a new superbubble feedback, which produces winds by modeling the detailed physics of supernova-driven bubbles and leads to efficient self-regulation of star formation. We find that, with blastwave feedback, massive star-forming clumps form in comparable number and with very similar masses in GASOLINE2 and GIZMO. Typical clump masses are in the range 107-108 M ⊙, lower than in most previous works, while giant clumps with masses above 109 M ⊙ are exceedingly rare. By contrast, superbubble feedback does not produce massive star-forming bound clumps as galaxies never undergo a phase of violent disk instability. In this scheme, only sporadic, unbound star-forming overdensities lasting a few tens of Myr can arise, triggered by non-linear perturbations from massive satellite companions. We conclude that there is severe tension between explaining massive star-forming clumps observed at z > 1 primarily as the result of disk fragmentation driven by gravitational instability and the prevailing view of feedback-regulated galaxy formation. The link between disk stability and star formation efficiency should thus be regarded as a key testing ground for galaxy formation theory.

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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
Language:English
Date:2016
Deposited On:04 Jan 2017 07:21
Last Modified:28 Apr 2017 06:09
Publisher:IOP Publishing
ISSN:0004-637X
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3847/2041-8205/830/1/L13

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