Implementing Feedback in Simulations of Galaxy Formation: A Survey of Methods Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • We present a detailed investigation of different approaches to modeling feedback in simulations of galaxy formation. Gas-dynamic forces are evaluated using Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics (SPH) while star formation and supernova feedback are included using a three parameter model which determines the star formation rate normalization, feedback energy and lifetime of feedback regions. The star formation rate is calculated using a Lagrangian Schmidt Law for all gas particles which satisfy temperature, density and convergent flow criteria. Feedback is incorporated as thermal heating of the ISM. We compare the effects of distributing this energy over the smoothing scale or depositing it on a single particle. Radiative losses are prevented from heated particles by adjusting the density used in radiative cooling. We test the models on the formation of galaxies from cosmological initial conditions and also on isolated Milky Way and dwarf galaxies. Extremely violent feedback is necessary to produce a gas disk with angular momentum remotely close to that of observed disk galaxies. This is a result of the extreme central concentration of the dark halos in the sCDM model, and the pervasiveness of the core-halo angular momentum transport mechanism. We emphasize that the disks formed in hierarchical simulations are partially a numerical artifact produced by the minimum mass scale of the simulation acting as a highly efficient `support' mechanism. Disk formation is strongly affected by the treatment of dense regions in SPH, which along with the difficulty of representing the hierarchical formation process, means that realistic simulations of galaxy formation require far higher resolution than currently used.

publication date

  • December 20, 2000