Thursday, June 13, 2013

lit: Where do the dwarf galaxies go?

I've just attended a colloquium by J. Navarro of the NFW fame, which was really related to my current reading list. I'm writing an introductory chapter on hierarchical galaxy assembly for my thesis at the moment.
One unsolved problem of LCDM cosmology is the apparent lack of dwarf galaxies: simulations and statistical frameworks (such as EPS) predict that we should see a large number (hundreds) of dwarf galaxies around each bright galaxy such as the Milky Way, but we only know of a dozen. Same with Andromeda.
J. Navarro also showed some puzzling properties of local dwarfs, for example, the fact that their star formation histories are wildly different. Some formed all their gas 10 or so Gyr ago, some had a starburst recently, and some have double-peaked SFH's. He presented the work of his student which could explain it: the CLUES simulation shows that a combination of interaction with the collapsing cosmic web, mergers of dwarfs and reionisation stripping can in principle explain this. Some dwarfs lost their gas simply because they moved too fast through the cosmic web. The remainders of such galaxies may be just too faint for us to see.

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