The anatomy of a star-forming galaxy: pressure-driven regulation of star formation in simulated galaxies Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • We explore the regulation of star formation in star-forming galaxies through a suite of high-resolution isolated galaxy simulations. We use the SPH code GASOLINE, including photoelectric heating and metal cooling, which produces a multi-phase interstellar medium. We show that representative star formation and feedback sub-grid models naturally lead to a weak, sub-linear dependence between the amount of star formation and changes to star formation parameters. We incorporate these sub-grid models into an equilibrium pressure-driven regulation framework. We show that the sub-linear scaling arises as a consequence of the non-linear relationship between scale height and the effective pressure generated by stellar feedback. Thus, simulated star-formation regulation is sensitive to how well vertical structure in the ISM is resolved. Full galaxy disks experience density waves which drive locally time-dependent star formation. We develop a simple time-dependent, pressure-driven model that reproduces the response extremely well.

publication date

  • November 1, 2016