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Cosmic distribution of highly ionized metals and their physical conditions in the EAGLE simulations


Rahmati, Alireza; Schaye, Joop; Crain, Robert A; Oppenheimer, Benjamin D; Schaller, Matthieu; Theuns, Tom (2016). Cosmic distribution of highly ionized metals and their physical conditions in the EAGLE simulations. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 459(1):310-332.

Abstract

We study the distribution and evolution of highly ionized intergalactic metals in the Evolution and Assembly of Galaxies and their Environment (EAGLE) cosmological, hydrodynamical simulations. EAGLE has been shown to reproduce a wide range of galaxy properties while its subgrid feedback was calibrated without considering gas properties. We compare the predictions for the column density distribution functions (CDDFs) and cosmic densities of Si IV, C IV, N V, O VI and Ne VIII absorbers with observations at redshift z = 0 to ˜6 and find reasonable agreement, although there are some differences. We show that the typical physical densities of the absorbing gas increase with column density and redshift, but decrease with the ionization energy of the absorbing ion. The typical metallicity increases with both column density and time. The fraction of collisionally ionized metal absorbers increases with time and ionization energy. While our results show little sensitivity to the presence or absence of AGN feedback, increasing/decreasing the efficiency of stellar feedback by a factor of 2 substantially decreases/increases the CDDFs and the cosmic densities of the metal ions. We show that the impact of the efficiency of stellar feedback on the CDDFs and cosmic densities is largely due to its effect on the metal production rate. However, the temperatures of the metal absorbers, particularly those of strong O VI, are directly sensitive to the strength of the feedback.

Abstract

We study the distribution and evolution of highly ionized intergalactic metals in the Evolution and Assembly of Galaxies and their Environment (EAGLE) cosmological, hydrodynamical simulations. EAGLE has been shown to reproduce a wide range of galaxy properties while its subgrid feedback was calibrated without considering gas properties. We compare the predictions for the column density distribution functions (CDDFs) and cosmic densities of Si IV, C IV, N V, O VI and Ne VIII absorbers with observations at redshift z = 0 to ˜6 and find reasonable agreement, although there are some differences. We show that the typical physical densities of the absorbing gas increase with column density and redshift, but decrease with the ionization energy of the absorbing ion. The typical metallicity increases with both column density and time. The fraction of collisionally ionized metal absorbers increases with time and ionization energy. While our results show little sensitivity to the presence or absence of AGN feedback, increasing/decreasing the efficiency of stellar feedback by a factor of 2 substantially decreases/increases the CDDFs and the cosmic densities of the metal ions. We show that the impact of the efficiency of stellar feedback on the CDDFs and cosmic densities is largely due to its effect on the metal production rate. However, the temperatures of the metal absorbers, particularly those of strong O VI, are directly sensitive to the strength of the feedback.

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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 10:00
Last Modified:28 Apr 2017 06:11
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0035-8711
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stw453

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