Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Realistic mock observations of the sizes and stellar mass surface densities of massive galaxies in FIRE-2 zoom-in simulations


Parsotan, T; Cochrane, R K; Hayward, C C; Anglés-Alcázar, D; Feldmann, R; Faucher-Giguére, C A; Wellons, S; Hopkins, P F (2021). Realistic mock observations of the sizes and stellar mass surface densities of massive galaxies in FIRE-2 zoom-in simulations. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 501(2):1591-1602.

Abstract

The galaxy size–stellar mass and central surface density–stellar mass relationships are fundamental observational constraints on galaxy formation models. However, inferring the physical size of a galaxy from observed stellar emission is non-trivial due to various observational effects, such as the mass-to-light ratio variations that can be caused by non-uniform stellar ages, metallicities, and dust attenuation. Consequently, forward-modelling light-based sizes from simulations is desirable. In this work, we use the skirt  dust radiative transfer code to generate synthetic observations of massive galaxies (⁠M∗∼1011M⊙ at z = 2, hosted by haloes of mass Mhalo∼1012.5M⊙⁠) from high-resolution cosmological zoom-in simulations that form part of the Feedback In Realistic Environments project. The simulations used in this paper include explicit stellar feedback but no active galactic nucleus (AGN) feedback. From each mock observation, we infer the effective radius (Re), as well as the stellar mass surface density within this radius and within 1kpc (Σe and Σ1, respectively). We first investigate how well the intrinsic half-mass radius and stellar mass surface density can be inferred from observables. The majority of predicted sizes and surface densities are within a factor of 2 of the intrinsic values. We then compare our predictions to the observed size–mass relationship and the Σ1−M⋆ and Σe−M⋆ relationships. At z ≳ 2, the simulated massive galaxies are in general agreement with observational scaling relations. At z ≲ 2, they evolve to become too compact but still star forming, in the stellar mass and redshift regime where many of them should be quenched. Our results suggest that some additional source of feedback, such as AGN-driven outflows, is necessary in order to decrease the central densities of the simulated massive galaxies to bring them into agreement with observations at z ≲ 2.

Abstract

The galaxy size–stellar mass and central surface density–stellar mass relationships are fundamental observational constraints on galaxy formation models. However, inferring the physical size of a galaxy from observed stellar emission is non-trivial due to various observational effects, such as the mass-to-light ratio variations that can be caused by non-uniform stellar ages, metallicities, and dust attenuation. Consequently, forward-modelling light-based sizes from simulations is desirable. In this work, we use the skirt  dust radiative transfer code to generate synthetic observations of massive galaxies (⁠M∗∼1011M⊙ at z = 2, hosted by haloes of mass Mhalo∼1012.5M⊙⁠) from high-resolution cosmological zoom-in simulations that form part of the Feedback In Realistic Environments project. The simulations used in this paper include explicit stellar feedback but no active galactic nucleus (AGN) feedback. From each mock observation, we infer the effective radius (Re), as well as the stellar mass surface density within this radius and within 1kpc (Σe and Σ1, respectively). We first investigate how well the intrinsic half-mass radius and stellar mass surface density can be inferred from observables. The majority of predicted sizes and surface densities are within a factor of 2 of the intrinsic values. We then compare our predictions to the observed size–mass relationship and the Σ1−M⋆ and Σe−M⋆ relationships. At z ≳ 2, the simulated massive galaxies are in general agreement with observational scaling relations. At z ≲ 2, they evolve to become too compact but still star forming, in the stellar mass and redshift regime where many of them should be quenched. Our results suggest that some additional source of feedback, such as AGN-driven outflows, is necessary in order to decrease the central densities of the simulated massive galaxies to bring them into agreement with observations at z ≲ 2.

Statistics

Citations

Dimensions.ai Metrics
24 citations in Web of Science®
28 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute for Computational Science
Dewey Decimal Classification:530 Physics
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Astronomy and Astrophysics
Physical Sciences > Space and Planetary Science
Uncontrolled Keywords:Space and Planetary Science, Astronomy and Astrophysics
Language:English
Date:5 December 2021
Deposited On:15 Feb 2021 06:57
Last Modified:24 Jun 2024 01:41
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN:0035-8711
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/staa3765
Full text not available from this repository.