Journal Article

Stellar feedback and bulge formation in clumpy discs

Philip F. Hopkins, Dusan Kereš, Norman Murray, Eliot Quataert and Lars Hernquist

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 427, issue 2, pages 968-978
Published in print December 2012 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online December 2012 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2012.21981.x
Stellar feedback and bulge formation in clumpy discs

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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.

Keywords: stars: formation; galaxies: active; galaxies: evolution; galaxies: formation; cosmology: theory

Journal Article.  10041 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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