ORBITING CIRCUMGALACTIC GAS AS A SIGNATURE OF COSMOLOGICAL ACCRETION Academic Article uri icon

  •  
  • Overview
  •  
  • Research
  •  
  • Identity
  •  
  • Additional Document Info
  •  
  • View All
  •  

abstract

  • We use cosmological SPH simulations to study the kinematic signatures of cool gas accretion onto a pair of well-resolved galaxy halos. Cold-flow streams and gas-rich mergers produce a circum-galactic component of cool gas that generally orbits with high angular momentum about the galaxy halo before falling in to build the disk. This signature of cosmological accretion should be observable using background-object absorption line studies as features that are offset from the galaxy's systemic velocity by ~100 km/s. Accreted gas typically co-rotates with the central disk in the form of a warped, extended cold flow disk, such that the observed velocity offset is in the same direction as galaxy rotation, appearing in sight lines that avoid the galactic poles. This prediction provides a means to observationally distinguish accreted gas from outflow gas: the accreted gas will show large one-sided velocity offsets in absorption line studies while radial/bi-conical outflows will not (except possibly in special polar projections). This rotation signature has already been seen in studies of intermediate redshift galaxy-absorber pairs; we suggest that these observations may be among the first to provide indirect observational evidence for cold accretion onto galactic halos. Cold mode halo gas typically has ~3-5 times more specific angular momentum than the dark matter. The associated cold mode disk configurations are likely related to extended HI/XUV disks seen around galaxies in the local universe. The fraction of galaxies with extended cold flow disks and associated offset absorption-line gas should decrease around bright galaxies at low redshift, as cold mode accretion dies out.

authors

  • Stewart, Kyle R
  • Kaufmann, Tobias
  • Bullock, James S
  • Barton, Elizabeth J
  • Maller, Ariyeh H
  • Diemand, Jürg
  • Wadsley, James

publication date

  • September 1, 2011