Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Daily Paper #6: A physical model of cosmological simulations of galaxy formation

I picked this article for the group meeting presentation, and actually read it, because it is rather relevant.
Title: A physical model of cosmological simulations of galaxy formation
Authors: Vogelsberger, Genel, Sijacki et al.
Year: 2012,
They present galaxy formation simulations using the AREPO code, which is a moving mesh hydro code, claimed to combine the advantages of SPH and semi-analytical models built on top of N-body simulations. What is important, however, is that they include, among other things:
-- BH seeding and growth
-- 3 modes of AGN feedback (thermal, kinetic (radio jets) and EM radiation). The discrepancy between the high-mass end of McCarthy, Schaye et al. TFR and observations I discussed yesterday is probably due to lack of AGN feedback prescriptions.
-- realistic cooling (including metals) with self-shielding
-- realistic enrichment timescales and yields
-- different modes of outflows

The article itself is quite long and rather technical, dealing with the details of the implementation of physics. However, there are some interesting observations. For instance, they discuss the stellar mass function and its relation to feedback, halo mass function and the cosmic SFH. The stellar mass function is 'chewed' by stellar feedback (SN and stellar winds) at the low halo mass end, and by AGN feedback at the higher mass end. It can be viewed as the convolution of the halo mass function with the efficiency with which stars form in these haloes (i.e. feedback mechanisms).

I think this relation is really important -- actually, it shows why the TFR exists, and why there is a knee at the high-mass end. _Why_ the slope, zeropoint and scatter are such are different questions -- but the answer to that should be some combination of the halo concentration (i.e. response to baryons, mostly), details of feedback (which determine the shape of the M* -- Mhalo relation) and the initial halo mass function (i.e. cosmology). The latter also sets the angular momentum of galaxies (Vvir -- Mvir are related, see the description of Dutton 2011).

They reproduce the stellar mass-halo relation, stellar mass function, evolution of the cosmic SFR density, the cosmic stellar mass density, mass-metallicity relation, SDSS luminosity function, M_BH -- M* relation and the Tully-Fisher relation (in the Vcirc -- M* sense, see the other attached plot). They claim (by citing McCarthy & Schaye, and experimenting with different radii) that the precise radius of the velocity measurement is not very important.

They conclude that TFR is not very sensitive to feedback parameters (shown in the plot). However, feedback must be included, otherwise it is not possible to reproduce TFR correctly. They find that the stellar mass in a halo is primarily set by the stellar feedback and radio-mode AGN feedback.

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