Journal Article

Satellite galaxies in hydrodynamical simulations of Milky Way sized galaxies

Markus Wadepuhl and Volker Springel

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 410, issue 3, pages 1975-1992
Published in print January 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online January 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Satellite galaxies in hydrodynamical simulations of Milky Way sized galaxies

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Collisionless simulations of the cold dark matter (CDM) cosmology predict a plethora of dark matter substructures in the haloes of Milky Way sized galaxies, yet the number of known luminous satellites galaxies is very much smaller, a discrepancy that has become known as the ‘missing satellite problem’. The most massive substructures have been shown to be plausibly the hosts of the brightest satellites, but it remains unclear which processes prevent star formation in the many other, purely dark substructures. We use high-resolution hydrodynamic simulations of the formation of Milky Way sized galaxies in order to test how well such self-consistent models of structure formation match the observed properties of the Galaxy's satellite population. For the first time, we include in such calculations feedback from cosmic rays injected into the star-forming gas by supernovae as well as the energy input from supermassive black holes growing at the Milky Way's centre and its progenitor systems. We find that non-thermal particle populations quite strongly suppress the star formation efficiency of the smallest galaxies. In fact, our cosmic ray model is able to reproduce the observed faint-end of the satellite luminosity function, while models that include only the effects of cosmic reionization, or galactic winds, do significantly worse. Our simulated satellite population approximately matches available kinematic data on the satellites and their observed spatial distribution. We conclude that a proper resolution of the missing satellite problem likely requires the inclusion of non-standard physics for regulating star formation in the smallest haloes, and that cosmic reionization alone may not be sufficient.

Keywords: methods: numerical; galaxies: dwarf; galaxies: luminosity function, mass function; cosmology: observations; dark matter

Journal Article.  13229 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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