Stellar feedback and bulge formation in clumpy discs

  • Hopkins P
  • Kereš D
  • Murray N
 et al. 
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Abstract

We use numerical simulations of isolated galaxies to study the effects of stellar feedback on the formation and evolution of giant star-forming gas 'clumps' in high-redshift, gas-rich galaxies. Such galactic discs are unstable to the formation of bound gas-rich clumps whose properties initially depend only on global disc properties, not the microphysics of feedback. In simulations without stellar feedback, clumps turn an order-unity fraction of their mass into stars and sink to the centre, forming a large bulge and kicking most of the stars out into a much more extended stellar envelope. By contrast, strong radiative stellar feedback disrupts even the most massive clumps after they turn ˜10-20 per cent of their mass into stars, in a time-scale of ˜10-100 Myr, ejecting some material into a superwind and recycling the rest of the gas into the diffuse interstellar medium (ISM). This suppresses the bulge formation rate by direct 'clump coalescence' by a factor of several. However, the galactic discs do undergo significant internal evolution in the absence of mergers: clumps form and disrupt continuously and torque gas to the galactic centre. The resulting evolution is qualitatively similar to bar/spiral evolution in simulations with a more homogeneous ISM.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Cosmology: theory
  • Galaxies: active
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: formation
  • Stars: formation

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Authors

  • Philip F. Hopkins

  • Dusan Kereš

  • Norman Murray

  • Eliot Quataert

  • Lars Hernquist

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