Journal Article

The effect of gas dynamics on semi-analytic modelling of cluster galaxies

A. Saro, G. De Lucia, K. Dolag and S. Borgani

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 391, issue 2, pages 565-576
Published in print December 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online November 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13922.x
The effect of gas dynamics on semi-analytic modelling of cluster galaxies

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We study the degree to which non-radiative gas dynamics affect the merger histories of haloes along with subsequent predictions from a semi-analytic model (SAM) of galaxy formation. To this aim, we use a sample of dark matter only and non-radiative smooth particle hydrodynamics (SPH) simulations of four massive clusters. The presence of gas-dynamical processes (e.g. ram pressure from the hot intra-cluster atmosphere) makes haloes more fragile in the runs which include gas. This results in a 25 per cent decrease in the total number of subhaloes at z= 0. The impact on the galaxy population predicted by SAMs is complicated by the presence of ‘orphan’ galaxies, i.e. galaxies whose parent substructures are reduced below the resolution limit of the simulation. In the model employed in our study, these galaxies survive (unaffected by the tidal stripping process) for a residual merging time that is computed using a variation of the Chandrasekhar formula. Due to ram-pressure stripping, haloes in gas simulations tend to be less massive than their counterparts in the dark matter simulations. The resulting merging times for satellite galaxies are then longer in these simulations. On the other hand, the presence of gas influences the orbits of haloes making them on average more circular and therefore reducing the estimated merging times with respect to the dark matter only simulation. This effect is particularly significant for the most massive satellites and is (at least in part) responsible for the fact that brightest cluster galaxies in runs with gas have stellar masses which are about 25 per cent larger than those obtained from dark matter only simulations. Our results show that gas dynamics has only a marginal impact on the statistical properties of the galaxy population, but that its impact on the orbits and merging times of haloes strongly influences the assembly of the most massive galaxies.

Keywords: hydrodynamics; methods: N-body simulations; methods: numerical; galaxies: clusters: general; cosmology: theory

Journal Article.  8899 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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