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Enhancing and inhibiting star formation: high-resolution simulation studies of the impact of cold accretion, mergers and feedback on individual massive galaxies

  • Leila C. Powell (a1), Frederic Bournaud (a2), Damien Chapon (a2), Julien Devriendt (a3), Volker Gaibler (a4), Sadegh Khochfar (a1), Adrianne Slyz (a3) and Romain Teyssier (a2)...

Abstract

The quest for a better understanding of the evolution of massive galaxies can be broadly summarised with 2 questions: how did they build up their large (stellar) masses and what eventually quenched their star formation (SF)? To tackle these questions, we use high-resolution ramses simulations (Teyssier 2002) to study several aspects of the detailed interplay between accretion (mergers and cold flows), SF and feedback in individual galaxies. We examine SF in major mergers; a process crucial to stellar mass assembly. We explore whether the merger-induced, clustered SF is as important a mechanism in average mergers, as it is in extreme systems like the Antennae. We find that interaction-induced turbulence drives up the velocity dispersion, and that there is a correlated rise in SFR in all our simulated mergers as the density pdf evolves to have an excess of very dense gas. Next, we introduce a new study into whether mechanical jet feedback can impact upon the ability of hot gas haloes to provide a supply of fuel for SF during mergers and in their remnants. Finally, we briefly review our recent study, in which we examine the effect of supernova (SN) feedback on galaxies accreting via the previously overlooked cold-mode, by resimulating a stream-fed galaxy at z ~ 9. A far-reaching galactic wind results yet it cannot suppress the cold, filamentary accretion or eject significant mass in order to reduce the SFR, suggesting that SN feedback may not be as effective as is often assumed.

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References

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