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Kiloparsec-scale simulations of star formation in disk galaxies. IV. regulation of galactic star formation rates by stellar feedback


Butler, Michael J; Tan, Jonathan C; Teyssier, Romain; Rosdahl, Joakim; Van Loo, Sven; Nickerson, Sarah (2017). Kiloparsec-scale simulations of star formation in disk galaxies. IV. regulation of galactic star formation rates by stellar feedback. The Astrophysical Journal, 841(2):24.

Abstract

Star formation from the interstellar medium of galactic disks is a basic process controlling the evolution of galaxies. Understanding the star formation rate (SFR) in a local patch of a disk with a given gas mass is thus an important challenge for theoretical models. Here we simulate a kiloparsec region of a disk, following the evolution of self-gravitating molecular clouds down to subparsec scales, as they form stars that then inject feedback energy by dissociating and ionizing UV photons and supernova explosions. We assess the relative importance of each feedback mechanism. We find that H2-dissociating feedback results in the largest absolute reduction in star formation compared to the run with no feedback. Subsequently adding photoionization feedback produces a more modest reduction. Our fiducial models that combine all three feedback mechanisms yield, without fine-tuning, SFRs that are in excellent agreement with observations, with H2-dissociating photons playing a crucial role. Models that only include supernova feedback—a common method in galaxy evolution simulations—settle to similar SFRs, but with very different temperatures and chemical states of the gas, and with very different spatial distributions of young stars.

Abstract

Star formation from the interstellar medium of galactic disks is a basic process controlling the evolution of galaxies. Understanding the star formation rate (SFR) in a local patch of a disk with a given gas mass is thus an important challenge for theoretical models. Here we simulate a kiloparsec region of a disk, following the evolution of self-gravitating molecular clouds down to subparsec scales, as they form stars that then inject feedback energy by dissociating and ionizing UV photons and supernova explosions. We assess the relative importance of each feedback mechanism. We find that H2-dissociating feedback results in the largest absolute reduction in star formation compared to the run with no feedback. Subsequently adding photoionization feedback produces a more modest reduction. Our fiducial models that combine all three feedback mechanisms yield, without fine-tuning, SFRs that are in excellent agreement with observations, with H2-dissociating photons playing a crucial role. Models that only include supernova feedback—a common method in galaxy evolution simulations—settle to similar SFRs, but with very different temperatures and chemical states of the gas, and with very different spatial distributions of young stars.

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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:June 2017
Deposited On:09 Jan 2018 21:48
Last Modified:19 Feb 2018 08:36
Publisher:IOP Publishing
ISSN:1538-4357
OA Status:Green
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/aa7054

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