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Physics  2012 

Properties of simulated Milky Way-mass galaxies in loose group and field environments

DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201219649

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We test the validity of comparing simulated field disk galaxies with the empirical properties of systems situated within environments more comparable to loose groups, including the Milky Way's Local Group. Cosmological simulations of Milky Way-mass galaxies have been realised in two different environment samples: in the field and in environments with similar properties to the Local Group. Apart from the environments of the galaxies, the samples are kept as homogeneous as possible with equivalent ranges in last major merger time, halo mass and halo spin. Comparison of these two samples allow for systematic differences in the simulations to be identified. Metallicity gradients, disk scale lengths, colours, magnitudes and age-velocity dispersion relations are studied for each galaxy in the suite and the strength of the link between these and environment of the galaxies is studied. The bulge-to-disk ratio of the galaxies show that these galaxies are less spheroid dominated than many other simulated galaxies in literature with the majority of both samples being disk dominated. We find that secular evolution and mergers dominate the spread of morphologies and metallicity gradients with no visible differences between the two environment samples. In contrast with this consistency in the two samples there is tentative evidence for a systematic difference in the velocity dispersion-age relations of galaxies in the different environments. Loose group galaxies appear to have more discrete steps in their velocity dispersion-age relations. We conclude that at the current resolution of cosmological galaxy simulations field environment galaxies are sufficiently similar to those in loose groups to be acceptable proxies for comparison with the Milky Way provided that a similar assembly history is considered.


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