Simon D. M. White

Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, Arching, Bavaria, Germany

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Publications (261)1324.87 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We present results from thirteen cosmological simulations that explore the parameter space of the "Evolution and Assembly of GaLaxies and their Environments" (EAGLE) simulation project. Four of the simulations follow the evolution of a periodic cube L = 50 cMpc on a side, and each employs a different subgrid model of the energetic feedback associated with star formation. The relevant parameters were adjusted so that the simulations each reproduce the observed galaxy stellar mass function at z = 0.1. Three of the simulations fail to form disc galaxies as extended as observed, and we show analytically that this is a consequence of numerical radiative losses that reduce the efficiency of stellar feedback in high-density gas. Such losses are greatly reduced in the fourth simulation - the EAGLE reference model - by injecting more energy in higher density gas. This model produces galaxies with the observed size distribution, and also reproduces many galaxy scaling relations. In the remaining nine simulations, a single parameter or process of the reference model was varied at a time. We find that the properties of galaxies with stellar mass <~ M* (the "knee" of the galaxy stellar mass function) are largely governed by feedback associated with star formation, while those of more massive galaxies are also controlled by feedback from accretion onto their central black holes. Both processes must be efficient in order to reproduce the observed galaxy population. In general, simulations that have been calibrated to reproduce the low-redshift galaxy stellar mass function will still not form realistic galaxies, but the additional requirement that galaxy sizes be acceptable leads to agreement with a large range of observables.
    01/2015;
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    ABSTRACT: The "Lambda Cold Dark Matter" (LCDM) model of cosmic structure formation is eminently falsifiable: once its parameters are fixed on large scales, it becomes testable in the nearby Universe. Observations within our Local Group of galaxies, including the satellite populations of the Milky Way and Andromeda, appear to contradict LCDM predictions: there are far fewer satellite galaxies than dark matter halos (the "missing satellites" problem), galaxies seem to avoid the largest substructures (the "too big to fail" problem), and the brightest satellites appear to orbit their host galaxies on a thin plane (the "planes of satellites" problem). We present results from the first hydrodynamic simulations of the Local Group that match the observed abundance of galaxies. We find that when baryonic and dark matter are followed simultaneously in the context of a realistic galaxy formation model, all three "problems" are resolved within the LCDM paradigm.
    12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We examine a sample of $\sim 250 000$ "locally brightest galaxies" selected from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to be central galaxies within their dark matter halos. These were previously stacked by the Planck Collaboration to measure the Sunyaev-Zel'dovich signal as a function of central galaxy stellar mass. Here, we stack the X-ray emission from these halos using data from the ROSAT All-Sky Survey. We detect emission across almost our entire sample, including emission which we attribute to hot gas around galaxies spanning a range of 1.2 dex in stellar mass (corresponding to nearly two orders of magnitude in halo mass) down to $M* = 10^{10.8} M_{\odot}$ ($M_{500} \approx 10^{12.6} M_{\odot}$). Over this range, the X-ray luminosity can be fit by a power-law, either of stellar mass or of halo mass. A single unified scaling relation between mass and $L_X$ applies for galaxies, groups, and clusters. This relation has a steeper slope than expected for self-similarity, in contrast to the $Y_{SZ}$-$M_{500}$ relation, showing the importance of non-gravitational heating. If this heating is predominantly due to AGN feedback, the lack of a break in our relation suggests that AGN feedback is tightly self-regulated and fairly gentle, in agreement with recent high-resolution simulations. Our results are consistent with earlier measurements of the $L_X$-$L_K$ relation for elliptical galaxies and of the $L_X$-$M_{500}$ relation for optically-selected galaxy clusters. However, our $L_X$-$M_{500}$ relation lies more than a factor of two below most previous relations based on X-ray-selected cluster samples. We argue that optical selection offers a less biased view of the $L_X$-$M_{500}$ relation.
    09/2014;
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    Chervin F. P. Laporte, Simon D. M. White
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    ABSTRACT: We present cosmological N-body resimulations of the assembly of the Brightest Cluster Galaxies (BCGs) in rich clusters. At $z=2$ we populate dark matter subhalos with self-gravitating stellar systems whose abundance and structure match observed high-redshift galaxies. By $z=0$, mergers have built much larger galaxies at cluster centre. Their dark matter density profiles are shallower than in corresponding dark-matter-only simulations, but their total mass density profiles (stars + dark matter) are quite similar. Differences are found only at radii where the effects of central black holes may be significant. Dark matter density slopes shallower than $\gamma=1.0$ occur for $r/r_{200} < 0.015$, close to the half-light radii of the BCGs. Our experiments support earlier suggestions that NFW-like profiles are an attractor for the hierarchical growth of structure in collisionless systems -- total mass density profiles asymptote to the solution found in dark-matter-only simulations over the radial range where mergers produce significant mixing between stars and dark matter. Simulated dark matter fractions are substantially higher in BCGs than in field ellipticals, reaching 80\% within the half-light radius. We also estimate that supermassive black hole mergers should create BCG cores as large as $r_{c}\sim 3 \,\mathrm{kpc}$. The good agreement of all these properties with recent observational studies of BCG structure suggests that dissipational processes have not played a dominant role in the assembly of the observed systems.
    09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We develop a new method to account for the finite lifetimes of stars and trace individual abundances within a semi-analytic model of galaxy formation. At variance with previous methods, based on the storage of the (binned) past star formation history of model galaxies, our method projects the information about the metals produced by each simple stellar population (SSP) in the future. Using this approach, an accurate accounting of the timings and properties of the individual SSPs composing model galaxies is possible. We analyse the dependence of our chemical model on various ingredients, and apply it to six simulated haloes of roughly Milky Way mass and with no massive close neighbour at z=0. For all models considered, the [Fe/H] distributions of the stars in the disc component are in good agreement with Milky Way data, while for the spheroid component (whose formation we model only through mergers) these are offset low with respect to observational measurements for the Milky Way bulge. This is a consequence of narrow star formation histories, with relatively low rates of star formation. The slow recycling of gas and energy from supernovae in our chemical model has important consequences on the predicted star formation rates, which are systematically lower than the corresponding rates in the same physical model but with an instantaneous recycling approximation. The halo that resembles most our Galaxy in terms of its global properties also reproduces the observed relation between the average metallicity and luminosity of the Milky Way satellites, albeit with a slightly steeper slope.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 07/2014; 445(1). · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We introduce the Virgo Consortium's EAGLE project, a suite of hydrodynamical simulations that follow the formation of galaxies and black holes in representative volumes. We discuss the limitations of such simulations in light of their finite resolution and poorly constrained subgrid physics, and how these affect their predictive power. One major improvement is our treatment of feedback from massive stars and AGN in which thermal energy is injected into the gas without the need to turn off cooling or hydrodynamical forces, allowing winds to develop without predetermined speed or mass loading factors. Because the feedback efficiencies cannot be predicted from first principles, we calibrate them to the z~0 galaxy stellar mass function and the amplitude of the galaxy-central black hole mass relation, also taking galaxy sizes into account. The observed galaxy mass function is reproduced to $\lesssim 0.2$ dex over the full mass range, $10^8 < M_*/M_\odot \lesssim 10^{11}$, a level of agreement close to that attained by semi-analytic models, and unprecedented for hydrodynamical simulations. We compare our results to a representative set of low-redshift observables not considered in the calibration, and find good agreement with the observed galaxy specific star formation rates, passive fractions, Tully-Fisher relation, total stellar luminosities of galaxy clusters, and column density distributions of intergalactic CIV and OVI. While the mass-metallicity relations for gas and stars are consistent with observations for $M_* \gtrsim 10^9 M_\odot$, they are insufficiently steep at lower masses. The gas fractions and temperatures are too high for clusters of galaxies, but for groups these discrepancies can be resolved by adopting a higher heating temperature in the subgrid prescription for AGN feedback. EAGLE constitutes a valuable new resource for studies of galaxy formation.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 07/2014; 446(1). · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We simulate the phase-space distribution of stellar mass in 9 massive Lambda-CDM galaxy clusters by applying the semi-analytic particle tagging method of Cooper et al. to the Phoenix suite of high-resolution N-body simulations (M200 = 7.5 to 33 x 10^14 Msol). The resulting surface brightness (SB) profiles of brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs) match well to observations. On average, stars formed in galaxies accreted by the BCG account for ~90 per cent of its total mass (the remainder is formed in situ). In circular BCG-centred apertures, the superposition of multiple debris clouds (each ~10 per cent of the total BCG mass) from different progenitors can result in an extensive outer diffuse component, qualitatively similar to a 'cD envelope'. These clouds typically originate from tidal stripping at z < 1 and comprise both streams and the extended envelopes of other massive galaxies in the cluster. The faint regions of the BCG contribute a significant part of the total cluster stellar mass budget: in the central 1 Mpc^2 of a z ~ 0.15 cluster imaged at SDSS-like resolution, our fiducial model predicts 80-95 per cent of stellar mass below a SB of mu_V = 26.5 mag arcsec^2 is associated with accreted stars in the envelope of the BCG.The ratio of BCG stellar mass to total cluster stellar mass is ~30 per cent.
    07/2014;
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    Louis E. Strigari, Carlos S. Frenk, Simon D. M. White
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    ABSTRACT: The Sculptor dwarf spheroidal galaxy contains two distinct stellar populations: one metal-rich and the other metal-poor. Several authors have argued that in order for these two populations to reside in the same gravitational potential, the dark matter halo must have a core similar to that observed in the stellar count profile. This would rule out the cuspy Navarro-Frenk-White (NFW) density profiles predicted for halos and subhalos by dark matter only simulations of the Lambda Cold Dark Matter (Lambda-CDM) cosmological model. We present a new theoretical framework to analyse stellar count and velocity observations in a self-consistent manner based on separable models, f(E,J)=g(J)h(E), for the distribution function of an equilibrium spherical system. We use this machinery to analyse available photometric and kinematic data for the two stellar populations in Sculptor. We find, contrary to some previous claims, that the data are consistent with populations in equilibrium within an NFW dark matter potential with structural parameters in the range expected in Lambda-CDM. Our solution gives a maximum circular velocity for Sculptor between 20 and 35 km/s. We discuss why some previous authors came to a different conclusion.
    06/2014;
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    Michael Aumer, Simon D. M. White, Thorsten Naab
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    ABSTRACT: We analyze the formation histories of 19 galaxies from cosmological smoothed particle hydrodynamics zoom-in resimulations. We construct mock three-colour images and show that the models reproduce observed trends in the evolution of galaxy colours and morphologies. However, only a small fraction of galaxies contains bars. Many galaxies go through phases of central mass growth by in-situ star formation driven by gas-rich mergers or misaligned gas infall. These events lead to accretion of low-angular momentum gas to the centres and leave imprints on the distributions of z=0 stellar circularities, radii and metallicities as functions of age. Observations of the evolution of structural properties of samples of disc galaxies at z=2.5-0.0 infer continuous mass assembly at all radii. Our simulations can only explain this if there is a significant contribution from mergers or misaligned infall, as expected in a LambdaCDM universe. Quiescent merger histories lead to high kinematic disc fractions and inside-out growth, but show little central growth after the last `destructive' merger at z>1.5. For sufficiently strong feedback, as assumed in our models, a moderate amount of merging does not seem to be a problem for the z=0 disc galaxy population, but may rather be a requirement. The average profiles of simulated disc galaxies agree with observations at z>=1.5. At z<=1, there is too much growth in size and too little growth in central mass, possibly due to the under-abundance of bars. The discrepancies may partly be caused by differences between the star formation histories of the simulations and those assumed for observations.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 04/2014; 441(4). · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    Ming Li, Raul E. Angulo, Simon D. M. White, Jens Jasche
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    ABSTRACT: We develop and test a new statistical method to measure the kinematic Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (kSZ) effect. A sample of independently detected clusters is combined with the cosmic flow field predicted from a galaxy redshift survey in order to derive a matched filter that optimally weights the kSZ signal for the sample as a whole given the noise involved in the problem. We apply this formalism to realistic mock microwave skies based on cosmological N-body simulations, and demonstrate its robustness and performance. In particular, we carefully assess the various sources of uncertainty, CMB primary fluctuations, instrumental noise, uncertainties in the determination of the velocity field, and effects introduced by miscentering of clusters and by scatter in the mass-observable relations. We show that available data (Planck maps and the MaxBCG catalogue) should deliver a $7.7\sigma$ detection of the kSZ. A similar cluster catalogue with broader sky coverage should increase the detection significance to $\sim 13\sigma$. We point out that such measurements could be binned in order to study the properties of the cosmic gas and velocity fields, or combined into a single measurement to constrain cosmological parameters or deviations of the law of gravity from General Relativity.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 03/2014; 443(3). · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We use the SDSS/DR8 galaxy sample to study the radial distribution of satellite galaxies around isolated primaries, comparing to semi-analytic models of galaxy formation based on the Millennium and Millennium-II simulations. SDSS satellites behave differently around high- and low-mass primaries: those orbiting objects with $M_*>10^{11}M_\odot$ are mostly red and are less concentrated towards their host than the inferred dark matter halo, an effect that is very pronounced for the few blue satellites. On the other hand, less massive primaries have steeper satellite profiles that agree quite well with the expected dark matter distribution and are dominated by blue satellites, even in the inner regions where strong environmental effects are expected. In fact, such effects appear to be strong only for primaries with $M_* > 10^{11}M_\odot$. This behaviour is not reproduced by current semi-analytic simulations, where satellite profiles always parallel those of the dark matter and satellite populations are predominantly red for primaries of all masses. The disagreement with SDSS suggests that environmental effects are too efficient in the models. Modifying the treatment of environmental and star formation processes can substantially increase the fraction of blue satellites, but their radial distribution remains significantly shallower than observed. It seems that most satellites of low-mass primaries can continue to form stars even after orbiting within their joint halo for 5 Gyr or more.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 03/2014; 442(2). · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    Stefan Rau, Simona Vegetti, Simon D. M. White
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    ABSTRACT: Measurements of the total logarithmic central slope of the mass profile in galaxy clusters constrain their evolution and assembly history and that of their Brightest Cluster Galaxies. We report the first full surface brightness distribution modelling of the inner region of the galaxy cluster MACS J1149.5+2223. We compare these results with a position-based modelling approach for which we employ more than twice the previously known positional constraints. This is the first time that the detailed lensed image configuration of two non-central cluster galaxies with Einstein rings has been mapped. Due to the extended radial coverage provided by the multiple images in this system, we are able to determine the slope $\partial \log{\kappa}/\partial \log{R} = -0.37$ of the total projected mass distribution from $8$ to $80 \mathrm{kpc}$. This is within the cluster-to-cluster scatter estimates from previous cluster measurements. Our reconstruction of the image surface brightness distribution of the large central spiral galaxy has a root mean square residual for all image pixels of $1.14 \sigma$, where $\sigma$ is the observational background noise. This corresponds to a reconstruction of the positions of bright clumps in the central galaxy with a rms of $0.063 \mathrm{arcseconds}$.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 02/2014; 443(2). · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We use the Millennium Simulation series to investigate the mass and redshift dependence of the concentration of equilibrium cold dark matter (CDM) halos. We extend earlier work on the relation between halo mass profiles and assembly histories to show how the latter may be used to predict concentrations for halos of all masses and at any redshift. Our results clarify the link between concentration and the ``collapse redshift'' of a halo as well as why concentration depends on mass and redshift solely through the dimensionless ``peak height'' mass parameter, $\nu(M,z)=\delta_{\rm crit}(z)/\sigma(M,z)$. We combine these results with analytic mass accretion histories to extrapolate the $c(M,z)$ relations to mass regimes difficult to reach through direct simulation. Our model predicts that, at given $z$, $c(M)$ should deviate systematically from a simple power law at high masses, where concentrations approach a constant value, and at low masses, where concentrations are substantially lower than expected from extrapolating published empirical fits. This correction may reduce the expected self-annihilation boost factor from substructure by about one order of magnitude. The model also reproduces the $c(M,z)$ dependence on cosmological parameters reported in earlier work, and thus provides a simple and robust account of the relation between cosmology and the mass-concentration-redshift relation of CDM halos.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 12/2013; 441(1). · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We investigate the effects of galaxy formation on the baryonic acoustic oscillations (BAO) peak by applying semi-analytic modelling techniques to the Millennium-XXL, a $3 \times 10^{11}$ particle N-body simulation of similar volume to the future EUCLID survey. Our approach explicitly incorporates the effects of tidal fields and stochasticity on halo formation, as well as the presence of velocity bias, spatially correlated merger histories, and the connection of all these with the observable and physical properties of galaxies. We measure significant deviations in the shape of the BAO peak from the expectations of a linear bias model built on top of the nonlinear dark matter distribution. We find that the galaxy correlation function shows an excess close to the maximum of the BAO peak ($r\sim110 Mpc/h$) and a deficit at $r\sim90 Mpc/h$. Depending on the redshift, selection criteria and number density of the galaxy samples, these bias distortions can be up to 5% in amplitude. They are, however, largely absorbed by marginalization over nuisance parameters in current analytical modelling of the BAO peak in configuration space, in particular into the parameter that controls the broadening due to nonlinear evolution. As a result, the galaxy formation effects detected here are unlikely to bias the high-precision measurements planned by the upcoming generation of wide-field galaxy surveys.
    11/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) has been in operation since 2000 April. This paper presents the tenth public data release (DR10) from its current incarnation, SDSS-III. This data release includes the first spectroscopic data from the Apache Point Observatory Galaxy Evolution Experiment (APOGEE), along with spectroscopic data from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) taken through 2012 July. The APOGEE instrument is a near-infrared R~22,500 300-fiber spectrograph covering 1.514--1.696 microns. The APOGEE survey is studying the chemical abundances and radial velocities of roughly 100,000 red giant star candidates in the bulge, bar, disk, and halo of the Milky Way. DR10 includes 178,397 spectra of 57,454 stars, each typically observed three or more times, from APOGEE. Derived quantities from these spectra (radial velocities, effective temperatures, surface gravities, and metallicities) are also included.DR10 also roughly doubles the number of BOSS spectra over those included in the ninth data release. DR10 includes a total of 1,507,954 BOSS spectra, comprising 927,844 galaxy spectra; 182,009 quasar spectra; and 159,327 stellar spectra, selected over 6373.2 square degrees.
    The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 07/2013; 211(2). · 14.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present a method to estimate the total gas column density, dust-to-gas and dust-to-metal ratios of distant galaxies from rest-frame optical spectra. The technique exploits the sensitivity of certain optical lines to changes in depletion of metals on to dust grains and uses photoionization models to constrain these physical ratios along with the metallicity and dust column density. We compare our gas column density estimates with H I and CO gas mass estimates in nearby galaxies to show that we recover their total gas mass surface density to within a factor of 2 up to a total surface gas mass density of ˜75 M⊙ pc-2. Our technique is independent of the conversion factor of CO to H2 and we show that a metallicity-dependent XCO is required to achieve good agreement between our measurements and that provided by CO and H I. However, we also show that our method cannot be reliably aperture corrected to total integrated gas mass. We calculate dust-to-gas ratios for all star-forming galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 7 and show that the resulting dependence on metallicity agrees well with the trend inferred from modelling of the dust emission of nearby galaxies using far-IR data. We also present estimates of the variation of the dust-to-metal ratio with metallicity and show that this is poorly constrained at metallicities below 50 per cent solar. We conclude with a study of the inventory of gas in the central regions, defined both in terms of a fixed physical radius and as a fixed fraction of the half-light radius, of ˜70 000 star-forming galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. We show that their central gas content and gas depletion time are not accurately predicted by a single parameter, but in agreement with recent studies we find that a combination of the stellar mass and some measure of central concentration provides a good predictor of gas content in galaxies. We also identify a population of galaxies with low surface densities of stars and very long gas depletion times.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 07/2013; 432(3):2112-2140. · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We use the very high resolution, fully cosmological simulations from the Aquarius project, coupled to a semi-analytical model of galaxy formation, to study the phase-space distribution of halo stars in "solar neighbourhood"-like volumes. We find that this distribution is very rich in substructure in the form of stellar streams for all five stellar haloes we have analysed. These streams can be easily identified in velocity space, as well as in spaces of pseudo-conserved quantities such as E vs. Lz. In our best-resolved local volumes, the number of identified streams ranges from ~ 300 to 600, in very good agreement with previous analytical predictions, even in the presence of chaotic mixing. The fraction of particles linked to (massive) stellar streams in these volumes can be as large as 84%. The number of identified streams is found to decrease as a power-law with galactocentric radius. We show that the strongest limitation to the quantification of substructure in our poorest-resolved local volumes is particle resolution rather than strong diffusion due to chaotic mixing.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 06/2013; · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We update the treatment of chemical evolution in the Munich semi-analytic model, L-GALAXIES. Our new implementation includes delayed enrichment from stellar winds, supernovae type II (SNe-II) and supernovae type Ia (SNe-Ia), as well as metallicity-dependent yields and a reformulation of the associated supernova feedback. Two different sets of SN-II yields and three different SN-Ia delay-time distributions (DTDs) are considered, and eleven heavy elements (including O, Mg and Fe) are self-consistently tracked. We compare the results of this new implementation with data on a) local, star-forming galaxies, b) Milky Way disc G dwarfs, and c) local, elliptical galaxies. We find that the z=0 gas-phase mass-metallicity relation is very well reproduced for all forms of DTD considered, as is the [Fe/H] distribution in the Milky Way disc. The [O/Fe] distribution in the Milky Way disc is best reproduced when using a DTD with less than or equal to 50 per cent of SNe-Ia exploding within ~400 Myrs. Positive slopes in the mass-[alpha/Fe] relations of local ellipticals are also obtained when using a DTD with such a minor `prompt' component. Alternatively, metal-rich winds that drive light alpha elements directly out into the circumgalactic medium also produce positive slopes for all forms of DTD and SN-II yields considered. Overall, we find that the best model for matching the wide range of observational data considered here should include a power-law SN-Ia DTD, SN-II yields that take account of prior mass loss through stellar winds, and some direct ejection of light alpha elements out of galaxies.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 05/2013; · 5.23 Impact Factor
  • Heling Yan, Zuhui Fan, Simon D. M. White
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    ABSTRACT: Using volume-limited samples drawn from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 7 (SDSS DR7), we measure the tidal environment of galaxies, which we characterize by the smoothed spatial number density 1 + δ of galaxies and the ellipticity e of the potential field derived from it. We investigate whether galaxy colour, Dn4000, concentration and size correlate with e, in addition to depending on 1 + δ. We find that there exists a transition smoothing scale at which correlations/anti-correlations with e reverse. This transition scale is well represented by the distance to the third nearest neighbour of a galaxy in a volume-limited sample with Mr < -20, which has a distribution peaked at ˜2 h-1 Mpc. We further demonstrate that this scale corresponds to that where the correlation between the colour of galaxies and environmental density 1 + δ is the strongest. For this optimal smoothing R0 no additional correlations with e are observed. The apparent dependence on tidal ellipticity e at other smoothing scales Rs can be viewed as a geometric effect, arising from the cross-correlation between (1 + δo) and e(Rs). We perform the same analysis on numerical simulations with semi-analytical modelling (SAM) of galaxy formation. The e dependence of the galaxy properties shows similar behaviour to that in the SDSS, although the colour-density correlation is significantly stronger in the SAM. The `optimal adaptive smoothing scale' in the SAM is also closely related to the distance to the third nearest neighbour of a galaxy, and its characteristic value is consistent with, albeit slightly smaller than for SDSS.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 04/2013; 430(4):3432-3444. · 5.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have combined the semi-analytic galaxy formation model of Guo et al. (2011) with the particle-tagging technique of Cooper et al. (2010) to predict galaxy surface brightness profiles in a representative sample of ~1900 massive dark matter haloes (10^12--10^14 M_sol) from the Millennium II Lambda-CDM N-body simulation. Here we present our method and basic results focusing on the outer regions of galaxies, consisting of stars accreted in mergers. These simulations cover scales from the stellar haloes of Milky Way-like galaxies to the 'cD envelopes' of groups and clusters, and resolve low surface brightness substructure such as tidal streams. We find that the surface density of accreted stellar mass around the central galaxies of dark matter haloes is well described by a Sersic profile, the radial scale and amplitude of which vary systematically with halo mass (M_200). The total stellar mass surface density profile breaks at the radius where accreted stars start to dominate over stars formed in the galaxy itself. This break disappears with increasing M_200 because accreted stars contribute more of the total mass of galaxies, and is less distinct when the same galaxies are averaged in bins of stellar mass, because of scatter in the relation between M_star and M_200. To test our model we have derived average stellar mass surface density profiles for massive galaxies at z~0.08 by stacking SDSS images. Our model agrees well with these stacked profiles and with other data from the literature, and makes predictions that can be more rigorously tested by future surveys that extend the analysis of the outer structure of galaxies to fainter isophotes. We conclude that it is likely that the outer structure of the spheroidal components of galaxies is largely determined by collisionless merging during their hierarchical assembly
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 03/2013; 434(4). · 5.23 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

22k Citations
1,324.87 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1996–2014
    • Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics
      Arching, Bavaria, Germany
  • 2011
    • Heidelberg University
      Tiffin, Ohio, United States
  • 2010
    • University of Massachusetts Amherst
      • Department of Astronomy
      Amherst Center, MA, United States
  • 2000–2010
    • Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
      • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
    • University of Padova
      Padua, Veneto, Italy
  • 2008–2009
    • Austin Peay State University
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Clarksville, Tennessee, United States
    • University of Washington Seattle
      • Department of Astronomy
      Seattle, WA, United States
  • 2006–2008
    • National Scientific and Technical Research Council
      • IAFE - Instituto de Astronomía y Física del Espacio
      Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires F.D., Argentina
  • 2007
    • Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab)
      Batavia, Illinois, United States
  • 1993–2006
    • Durham University
      • Department of Physics
      Durham, ENG, United Kingdom
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2003–2004
    • Johns Hopkins University
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2002
    • University of Chicago
      • Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
      Chicago, Illinois, United States
  • 1991
    • University of Cambridge
      • Institute of Astronomy
      Cambridge, England, United Kingdom
  • 1988–1990
    • University of California, Berkeley
      • Department of Astronomy
      Berkeley, CA, United States
  • 1987–1989
    • The University of Arizona
      • Department of Astronomy
      Tucson, Arizona, United States
  • 1970
    • Hebrew University of Jerusalem
      • Racah Institute of Physics
      Yerushalayim, Jerusalem District, Israel