Angular momentum evolution of galaxies in EAGLE

Claudia del P. Lagos , Tom Theuns, Adam R H Stevens, Luca Cortese, Nelson D. Padilla, Timothy A. Davis, Sergio Contreras, Darren Croton

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Abstract

We use the EAGLE cosmological hydrodynamic simulation suite to study the specific angular momentum of galaxies, j, with the aims of (i) investigating the physical causes behind the wide range of j at fixed mass and (ii) examining whether simple, theoretical models can explain the seemingly complex and non-linear nature of the evolution of j. We find that j of the stars, jstars, and baryons, jbar, are strongly correlated with stellar and baryon mass, respectively, with the scatter being highly correlated with morphological proxies such as gas fraction, stellar concentration, (u-r) intrinsic colour, stellar age and the ratio of circular velocity to velocity dispersion. We compare with available observations at z = 0 and find excellent agreement. We find that jbar follows the theoretical expectation of an isothermal collapsing halo under conservation of specific angular momentum to within ≈50 per cent, while the subsample of rotation-supported galaxies are equally well described by a simple model in which the disc angular momentum is just enough to maintain marginally stable discs. We extracted evolutionary tracks of the stellar spin parameter of EAGLE galaxies and found that the fate of their jstars at z = 0 depends sensitively on their star formation and merger histories. From these tracks, we identified two distinct physical channels behind low jstars galaxies at z = 0: (i) galaxy mergers, and (ii) early star formation quenching. The latter can produce galaxies with low jstars and early-type morphologies even in the absence of mergers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3850-3870
Number of pages21
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume464
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017

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angular momentum
merger
galaxies
star formation
baryons
stellar color
hydrodynamics
early stars
history
stellar mass
gas
simulation
conservation
halos
quenching
histories
stars
causes
gases
parameter

Cite this

Lagos , C. D. P., Theuns, T., Stevens, A. R. H., Cortese, L., Padilla, N. D., Davis, T. A., ... Croton, D. (2017). Angular momentum evolution of galaxies in EAGLE. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 464(4), 3850-3870. https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stw2610
Lagos , Claudia del P. ; Theuns, Tom ; Stevens, Adam R H ; Cortese, Luca ; Padilla, Nelson D. ; Davis, Timothy A. ; Contreras, Sergio ; Croton, Darren. / Angular momentum evolution of galaxies in EAGLE. In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 2017 ; Vol. 464, No. 4. pp. 3850-3870.
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Lagos , CDP, Theuns, T, Stevens, ARH, Cortese, L, Padilla, ND, Davis, TA, Contreras, S & Croton, D 2017, 'Angular momentum evolution of galaxies in EAGLE' Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. 464, no. 4, pp. 3850-3870. https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stw2610

Angular momentum evolution of galaxies in EAGLE. / Lagos , Claudia del P.; Theuns, Tom; Stevens, Adam R H; Cortese, Luca; Padilla, Nelson D.; Davis, Timothy A.; Contreras, Sergio; Croton, Darren.

In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 464, No. 4, 01.02.2017, p. 3850-3870.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Angular momentum evolution of galaxies in EAGLE

AU - Lagos , Claudia del P.

AU - Theuns, Tom

AU - Stevens, Adam R H

AU - Cortese, Luca

AU - Padilla, Nelson D.

AU - Davis, Timothy A.

AU - Contreras, Sergio

AU - Croton, Darren

PY - 2017/2/1

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N2 - We use the EAGLE cosmological hydrodynamic simulation suite to study the specific angular momentum of galaxies, j, with the aims of (i) investigating the physical causes behind the wide range of j at fixed mass and (ii) examining whether simple, theoretical models can explain the seemingly complex and non-linear nature of the evolution of j. We find that j of the stars, jstars, and baryons, jbar, are strongly correlated with stellar and baryon mass, respectively, with the scatter being highly correlated with morphological proxies such as gas fraction, stellar concentration, (u-r) intrinsic colour, stellar age and the ratio of circular velocity to velocity dispersion. We compare with available observations at z = 0 and find excellent agreement. We find that jbar follows the theoretical expectation of an isothermal collapsing halo under conservation of specific angular momentum to within ≈50 per cent, while the subsample of rotation-supported galaxies are equally well described by a simple model in which the disc angular momentum is just enough to maintain marginally stable discs. We extracted evolutionary tracks of the stellar spin parameter of EAGLE galaxies and found that the fate of their jstars at z = 0 depends sensitively on their star formation and merger histories. From these tracks, we identified two distinct physical channels behind low jstars galaxies at z = 0: (i) galaxy mergers, and (ii) early star formation quenching. The latter can produce galaxies with low jstars and early-type morphologies even in the absence of mergers.

AB - We use the EAGLE cosmological hydrodynamic simulation suite to study the specific angular momentum of galaxies, j, with the aims of (i) investigating the physical causes behind the wide range of j at fixed mass and (ii) examining whether simple, theoretical models can explain the seemingly complex and non-linear nature of the evolution of j. We find that j of the stars, jstars, and baryons, jbar, are strongly correlated with stellar and baryon mass, respectively, with the scatter being highly correlated with morphological proxies such as gas fraction, stellar concentration, (u-r) intrinsic colour, stellar age and the ratio of circular velocity to velocity dispersion. We compare with available observations at z = 0 and find excellent agreement. We find that jbar follows the theoretical expectation of an isothermal collapsing halo under conservation of specific angular momentum to within ≈50 per cent, while the subsample of rotation-supported galaxies are equally well described by a simple model in which the disc angular momentum is just enough to maintain marginally stable discs. We extracted evolutionary tracks of the stellar spin parameter of EAGLE galaxies and found that the fate of their jstars at z = 0 depends sensitively on their star formation and merger histories. From these tracks, we identified two distinct physical channels behind low jstars galaxies at z = 0: (i) galaxy mergers, and (ii) early star formation quenching. The latter can produce galaxies with low jstars and early-type morphologies even in the absence of mergers.

KW - Galaxies: evolution

KW - Galaxies: formation

KW - Galaxies: fundamental parameters

KW - Galaxies: structure

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U2 - 10.1093/mnras/stw2610

DO - 10.1093/mnras/stw2610

M3 - Article

VL - 464

SP - 3850

EP - 3870

JO - Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

JF - Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

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