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Simulated Milky Way analogues: implications for dark matter indirect searches  [PDF]
F. Calore,N. Bozorgnia,M. Lovell,G. Bertone,M. Schaller,C. S. Frenk,R. A. Crain,J. Schaye,T. Theuns,J. W. Trayford
Physics , 2015,
Abstract: We study high-resolution hydrodynamic simulations of Milky Way type galaxies obtained within the "Evolution and Assembly of GaLaxies and their Environments" (EAGLE) project, and identify the those that best satisfy observational constraints on the Milky Way total stellar mass, rotation curve, and galaxy shape. Contrary to mock galaxies selected on the basis of their total virial mass, the Milky Way analogues so identified consistently exhibit very similar dark matter profiles inside the solar circle, therefore enabling more accurate predictions for indirect dark matter searches. We find in particular that high resolution simulated haloes satisfying observational constraints exhibit, within the inner few kiloparsecs, dark matter profiles shallower than those required to explain the so-called Fermi GeV excess via dark matter annihilation.
Stellar haloes of simulated Milky Way-like galaxies: Chemical and kinematic properties  [PDF]
P. B. Tissera,C. Scannapieco,T. Beers,D. Carollo
Physics , 2013, DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stt691
Abstract: We investigate the chemical and kinematic properties of the diffuse stellar haloes of six simulated Milky Way-like galaxies from the Aquarius Project. Binding energy criteria are adopted to defined two dynamically distinct stellar populations: the diffuse inner and outer haloes, which comprise different stellar sub-populations with particular chemical and kinematic characteristics. Our simulated inner- and outer-halo stellar populations have received contributions from debris stars (formed in sub-galactic systems while they were outside the virial radius of the main progenitor galaxies) and endo-debris stars (those formed in gas-rich sub-galactic systems inside the dark matter haloes). The inner haloes possess an additional contribution from disc-heated stars in the range $\sim 3 - 30 %$, with a mean of $\sim 20% $. Disc-heated stars might exhibit signatures of kinematical support, in particular among the youngest ones. Endo-debris plus disc-heated stars define the so-called \insitu stellar populations. In both the inner- and outer-halo stellar populations, we detect contributions from stars with moderate to low [$\alpha$/Fe] ratios, mainly associated with the endo-debris or disc-heated sub-populations. The observed abundance gradients in the inner-halo regions are influenced by both the level of chemical enrichment and the relative contributions from each stellar sub-population. Steeper abundance gradients in the inner-halo regions are related to contributions from the disc-heated and endo-debris stars, which tend to be found at lower binding energies than debris stars. (Abridged).
Habitability in Different Milky Way Stellar Environments: a Stellar Interaction Dynamical Approach  [PDF]
Juan J. Jiménez-Torres,Bárbara Pichardo,George Lake,Antígona Segura
Physics , 2013, DOI: 10.1089/ast.2012.0842
Abstract: Every Galactic environment is characterized by a stellar density and a velocity dispersion. With this information from literature, we simulated flyby encounters for several Galactic regions, numerically calculating stellar trajectories as well as orbits for particles in disks; our aim was to understand the effect of typical stellar flybys on planetary (debris) disks in the Milky Way Galaxy. For the Solar neighborhood, we examined nearby stars with known distance, proper motions, and radial velocities. We found occurrence of a disturbing impact to the Solar planetary disk within the next 8 Myr to be highly unlikely; perturbations to the Oort cloud seem unlikely as well. Current knowledge of the full phase space of stars in the Solar neighborhood, however, is rather poor, and thus we cannot rule out the existence of a star that is more likely to approach than those for which we have complete kinematic information. We studied the effect of stellar encounters on planetary orbits within the habitable zones of stars in more crowded stellar environments, such as stellar clusters. We found that in open clusters habitable zones are not readily disrupted; this is true if they evaporate in less than 108 years. For older clusters the results may not be the same. We specifically studied the case of Messier 67, one of the oldest open clusters known, and show the effect of this environment on debris disks. We also considered the conditions in globular clusters, the Galactic nucleus, and the Galactic bulge-bar. We calculated the probability of whether Oort clouds exist in these Galactic environments.
MaGICC Thick Disk I: Comparing a Simulated Disk Formed with Stellar Feedback to the Milky Way  [PDF]
G. S. Stinson,J. Bovy,H. -W. Rix,C. Brook,R. Ro?kar,J. J. Dalcanton,A. V. Macciò,J. Wadsley,H. M. P. Couchman,T. R. Quinn
Physics , 2013, DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stt1600
Abstract: We analyse the structure and chemical enrichment of a Milky Way-like galaxy with a stellar mass of 2 10^{10} M_sun, formed in a cosmological hydrodynamical simulation. It is disk-dominated with a flat rotation curve, and has a disk scale length similar to the Milky Way's, but a velocity dispersion that is ~50% higher. Examining stars in narrow [Fe/H] and [\alpha/Fe] abundance ranges, we find remarkable qualitative agreement between this simulation and observations: a) The old stars lie in a thickened distribution with a short scale length, while the young stars form a thinner disk, with scale lengths decreasing, as [Fe/H] increases. b) Consequently, there is a distinct outward metallicity gradient. c) Mono-abundance populations exist with a continuous distribution of scale heights (from thin to thick). However, the simulated galaxy has a distinct and substantive very thick disk (h_z~1.5 kpc), not seen in the Milky Way. The broad agreement between simulations and observations allows us to test the validity of observational proxies used in the literature: we find in the simulation that mono-abundance populations are good proxies for single age populations (<1 Gyr) for most abundances.
The Effect of Environment on Milky Way-mass galaxies in a Constrained Simulation of the Local Group  [PDF]
Peter Creasey,Cecilia Scannapieco,Sebastian E. Nuza,Gustavo Yepes,Stefan Gottloeber,Matthias Steinmetz
Physics , 2015, DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/800/1/L4
Abstract: In this letter we present, for the first time, a study of star formation rate, gas fraction and galaxy morphology of a constrained simulation of the Milky Way (MW) and Andromeda (M31) galaxies, compared to other MW-mass galaxies. By combining with unconstrained simulations we cover a sufficient volume to compare these galaxies environmental densities ranging from the field to that of the Local Group (LG). This is particularly relevant as it has been shown that, quite generally, galaxy properties depend intimately upon their environment, most prominently when galaxies in clusters are compared to those in the field. For galaxies in loose groups such as the LG, however, environmental effects have been less clear. We consider the galaxy's environmental density in spheres of 1200 kpc (comoving) and find that whilst environment does not appear to directly affect morphology, there is a positive trend with star formation rates. This enhancement in star formation occurs systematically for galaxies in higher density environments, regardless whether they are part of the LG or in filaments. Our simulations suggest that the richer environment at Mpc-scales may help replenish the star-forming gas, allowing higher specific star formation rates in galaxies such as the MW.
Formation history, structure and dynamics of discs and spheroids in simulated Milky Way mass galaxies  [PDF]
Cecilia Scannapieco,Simon D. M White,Volker Springel,Patricia B. Tissera
Physics , 2011, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.19027.x
Abstract: We study the stellar discs and spheroids in eight simulations of galaxy formation within Milky Way-mass haloes in a Lambda Cold Dark Matter cosmology. A first paper in this series concentrated on disc properties. Here, we extend this analysis to study how the formation history, structure and dynamics of discs and spheroids relate to the assembly history and structure of their haloes. We find that discs are generally young, with stars spanning a wide range in stellar age: the youngest stars define thin discs and have near-circular orbits, while the oldest stars form thicker discs which rotate ~2 times slower than the thin components, and have 2-3 times larger velocity dispersions. Unlike the discs, spheroids form early and on short time-scales, and are dominated by velocity dispersion. We find great variety in their structure. The inner regions are bar- or bulge-like, while the extended outer haloes are rich in complex non-equilibrium structures such as stellar streams, shells and clumps. Our discs have very high in-situ fractions, i.e. most of their stars formed in the disc itself. Nevertheless, there is a non-negligible contribution (~15 percent) from satellites that are accreted on nearly coplanar orbits. The inner regions of spheroids also have relatively high in-situ fractions, but 65-85 percent of their outer stellar population is accreted. We analyse the circular velocities, rotation velocities and velocity dispersions of our discs and spheroids, both for gas and stars, showing that the dynamical structure is complex as a result of the non-trivial interplay between cooling and SN heating.
A Tale of Tidal Tails in the Milky Way  [PDF]
Andrew R. Casey
Physics , 2014,
Abstract: Hundreds of globular clusters and dwarf galaxies encircle the Milky Way. Many of these systems have undergone partial disruption due to tidal forces, littering the halo with stellar streams. These tidal tails are sensitive to the Galactic potential, facilitating an excellent laboratory to investigate Galaxy formation and evolution, as well as local chemical signatures of differing star formation environments. To better understand the emergence of the Milky Way, this thesis examines the dynamics and chemistry of a number of known stellar streams.
The Baryons in the Milky Way Satellites  [PDF]
Owen H. Parry,Vincent R. Eke,Carlos S. Frenk,Takashi Okamoto
Physics , 2011, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.19971.x
Abstract: We investigate the formation and evolution of satellite galaxies using smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) simulations of a Milky Way(MW)-like system, focussing on the best resolved examples, analogous to the classical MW satellites. Comparing with a pure dark matter simulation, we find that the condensation of baryons has had a relatively minor effect on the structure of the satellites' dark matter halos. The stellar mass that forms in each satellite agrees relatively well over three levels of resolution (a factor of ~64 in particle mass) and scales with (sub)halo mass in a similar way in an independent semi-analytical model. Our model provides a relatively good match to the average luminosity function of the MW and M31. To establish whether the potential wells of our satellites are realistic, we measure their masses within observationally determined half-light radii, finding that the most massive examples have somewhat higher mass-to-light ratios than those derived for the MW dSphs from stellar kinematic data. A statistical test yields a ~9 percent probability that the simulated and observationally derived distributions of masses are consistent. Our results may suggest that either the MW halo is less massive than assumed in our simulations (~1.4e12 M_sun) or that there is substantial scatter in the satellite luminosity function or distribution of mass-to-light ratios at fixed host halo mass. Alternatively, feedback processes not properly captured by our simulations may have reduced the central densities of (sub)halos, or the subhalos may have initially formed with lower concentrations as would be the case, for example, if the dark matter were made of warm, rather than cold particles.
Simulating the Milky Way is hard  [cached]
Stinson G.,Brook C.
EPJ Web of Conferences , 2012, DOI: 10.1051/epjconf/20121901005
Abstract: The formation of the Milky Way in the currently accepted concordance cosmology presents a couple of pitfalls. Mostly, these involve the much reported overcooling problem. If gas is allowed to cool, it will condense into massive central concentrations unlike any observed in real galaxies. These concentrations are characterized by a high central peak in the rotation curve and a rise in the surface brightness profile much steeper than the exponentially increasing disk. Such galaxies may contain no disk component and form many more stars than predicted by abundance matching studies.
The infant Milky Way  [PDF]
Stefania Salvadori,Andrea Ferrara
Physics , 2012,
Abstract: We investigate the physical properties of the progenitors of today living Milky Way-like galaxies that are visible as Damped Lya Absorption systems and Lya Emitters at higher redshifts (z ~ 2.3,5.7). To this aim we use a statistical merger-tree approach that follows the formation of the Galaxy and its dwarf satellites in a cosmological context, tracing the chemical evolution and stellar population history of the progenitor halos. The model accounts for the properties of the most metal-poor stars and local dwarf galaxies, providing insights on the early cosmic star-formation. Fruitful links between Galactic Archaeology and more distant galaxies are presented.
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