Journal Article

Simulations of galaxy formation with radiative transfer: hydrogen reionization and radiative feedback

Margarita Petkova and Volker Springel

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 412, issue 2, pages 935-946
Published in print April 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online March 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.17955.x
Simulations of galaxy formation with radiative transfer: hydrogen reionization and radiative feedback

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We carry out hydrodynamical simulations of galaxy formation that simultaneously follow radiative transfer of hydrogen-ionizing photons, based on the optically thin variable Eddington tensor approximation as implemented in the gadget code. We consider only star-forming galaxies as sources and examine to what extent they can yield a reasonable reionization history and thermal state of the intergalactic medium at redshifts around z∼ 3. This serves as an important benchmark for our self-consistent methodology to simulate galaxy formation and reionization, and for future improvements through accounting of other sources and other wavelength ranges. We find that star formation alone is sufficient for reionizing the Universe by redshift z∼ 6. For a suitable choice of the escape fraction and the heating efficiency, our models are approximately able to account at the same time for the one-point function and the power spectrum of the Lyman α forest. The radiation field has an important impact on the star formation rate density in our simulations and significantly lowers the gaseous and stellar fractions in low-mass dark matter haloes. Our results thus directly demonstrate the importance of radiative feedback for galaxy formation. The spatial and temporal importance of this effect can be studied accurately with the modelling technique explored here, allowing more faithful simulations of galaxy formation.

Keywords: galaxies: formation; intergalactic medium

Journal Article.  7451 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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