Journal Article

Formation of isolated dwarf galaxies with feedback

Till Sawala, Cecilia Scannapieco, Umberto Maio and Simon White

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 402, issue 3, pages 1599-1613
Published in print March 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online February 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Formation of isolated dwarf galaxies with feedback

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We present results of high-resolution hydrodynamical simulations of the formation and evolution of dwarf galaxies. Our simulations start from cosmological initial conditions at high redshift. They include metal-dependent cooling, star formation, feedback from Type II and Ia supernovae and UV background radiation, with physical recipes identical to those applied in a previous study of Milky Way type galaxies. We find that a combination of feedback and the cosmic UV background results in the formation of galaxies with properties similar to the Local Group dwarf spheroidals, and that their effect is strongly moderated by the depth of the gravitational potential. Taking this into account, our models naturally reproduce the observed luminosities and metallicities. The final objects have halo masses between 2.3 × 108 and 1.1 × 109 M, mean velocity dispersions between 6.5 and 9.7 km s−1, stellar masses ranging from 5 × 105 to 1.2 × 107 M, median metallicities between [Fe/H]=−1.8 and −1.1 and half-light radii of the order of 200–300 pc, all comparable with Local Group dwarf spheroidals. Our simulations also indicate that the dwarf spheroidal galaxies observed today lie near a halo mass threshold around 109 M, in agreement with stellar kinematic data, where supernova feedback not only suffices to completely expel the interstellar medium and leave the residual gas free, but where the combination of feedback, UV radiation and self-shielding establishes a dichotomy of age distributions similar to that observed in the Milky Way and M31 satellites.

Keywords: methods: N-body simulations; galaxies: dwarf; galaxies: evolution; galaxies: formation; Local Group; cosmology: theory

Journal Article.  12572 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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