The galaxy morphology-density relation in the EAGLE simulation

Joel Pfeffer, Mitchell K. Cavanagh, Kenji Bekki, Warrick J. Couch, Michael J. Drinkwater, Duncan A. Forbes, Baerbel S. Koribalski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The optical morphology of galaxies is strongly related to galactic environment, with the fraction of early-type galaxies increasing with local galaxy density. In this work, we present the first analysis of the galaxy morphology-density relation in a cosmological hydrodynamical simulation. We use a convolutional neural network, trained on observed galaxies, to perform visual morphological classification of galaxies with stellar masses M-t 10(10) M-? in the EAGLE simulation into elliptical, lenticular and late-type (spiral/irregular) classes. We find that EAGLE reproduces both the galaxy morphology-density and morphology-mass relations. Using the simulations, we find three key processes that result in the observed morphology-density relation: (i) transformation of disc-dominated galaxies from late-type (spiral) to lenticular galaxies through gas stripping in high-density environments, (ii) formation of lenticular galaxies by merger-induced black hole feedback in low-density environments, and (iii) an increasing fraction of high-mass galaxies, which are more often elliptical galaxies, at higher galactic densities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5260-5278
Number of pages19
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume518
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2023

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