Disk galaxy formation in a λ cold dark matter universe

Brant E Robertson, Naoki Yoshida, Volker Springel, Lars Hernquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

190 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We describe hydrodynamic simulations of galaxy formation in a λ cold dark matter cosmology, performed using a subresolution model for star formation and feedback in a multiphase interstellar medium (ISM). In particular, we demonstrate the formation of a well-resolved disk galaxy. The surface brightness profile of the galaxy is exponential, with a B-band central surface brightness of 21.0 mag arcsec-2 and a scale length of Rd = 2.0 h -1 kpc. We find no evidence for a significant bulge component. The simulated galaxy falls within the I-band Tully-Fisher relation, with an absolute magnitude of I = -21.2 and a peak stellar rotation velocity of Vrot = 121.3 km s-1. While the total specific angular momentum of the stars in the galaxy agrees with observations, the angular momentum in the inner regions appears to be low by a factor of ∼2. The star formation rate of the galaxy peaks at ∼7 M⊙ yr-1 between redshifts z = 2 and 4, with the mean stellar age decreasing from ∼10 Gyr in the outer regions of the disk to ∼7.5 Gyr in the center, indicating that the disk did not simply form inside-out. The stars exhibit a metallicity gradient from 0.7 Z⊙ at the edge of the disk to 1.3 Z⊙ in the center. Using a suite of idealized galaxy formation simulations with different models for the ISM, we show that the effective pressure support provided by star formation and feedback in our multiphase model is instrumental in allowing the formation of large, stable disk galaxies. If ISM gas is instead modeled with an isothermal equation of state, or if star formation is suppressed entirely, growing gaseous disks quickly violate the Toomre stability criterion and undergo catastrophic fragmentation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-45
Number of pages14
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume606
Issue number1 I
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

disk galaxies
galactic evolution
dark matter
universe
galaxies
star formation
angular momentum
brightness
cosmology
Tully-Fisher relation
stellar rotation
equation of state
stars
simulation
fragmentation
star formation rate
hydrodynamics
metallicity
equations of state
gas

Keywords

  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: formation
  • Galaxies: spiral
  • Methods: numerical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Disk galaxy formation in a λ cold dark matter universe. / Robertson, Brant E; Yoshida, Naoki; Springel, Volker; Hernquist, Lars.

In: Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 606, No. 1 I, 01.05.2004, p. 32-45.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Robertson, BE, Yoshida, N, Springel, V & Hernquist, L 2004, 'Disk galaxy formation in a λ cold dark matter universe', Astrophysical Journal, vol. 606, no. 1 I, pp. 32-45. https://doi.org/10.1086/382871
Robertson, Brant E ; Yoshida, Naoki ; Springel, Volker ; Hernquist, Lars. / Disk galaxy formation in a λ cold dark matter universe. In: Astrophysical Journal. 2004 ; Vol. 606, No. 1 I. pp. 32-45.
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