A stellar feedback origin for neutral hydrogen in high-redshift quasar-mass haloes

Claude André Faucher-Giguère, Robert Feldmann, Eliot Quataert, Dušan Kereš, Philip F. Hopkins, Norman Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Observations reveal that quasar host haloes at z ~ 2 have large covering fractions of cool dense gas (≳60 per cent for Lyman limit systems within a projected virial radius). Most simulations have so far failed to explain these large observed covering fractions. We analyse a new set of 15 simulated massive haloes with explicit stellar feedback from the FIRE project, covering the halo mass range Mh ≈ 2 × 1012 - 1013 M at z = 2. This extends our previous analysis of the circum-galactic medium of high-redshift galaxies to more massive haloes. Active galactic nuclei (AGN) feedback is not included in these simulations. We find Lyman limit system covering fractions consistent with those observed around quasars. The large H I covering fractions arise from star formation-driven galactic winds, including winds from low-mass satellite galaxies that interact with cosmological filaments. We show that it is necessary to resolve these satellite galaxies and their winds to reproduce the large Lyman limit system covering fractions observed in quasar-mass haloes. Our simulations predict that galaxies occupying dark matter haloes of mass similar to quasars but without a luminous AGN should have Lyman limit system covering fractions comparable to quasars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L32-L36
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Cosmology: theory
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: formation
  • Galaxies: haloes
  • Intergalactic medium
  • Quasars: absorption lines


Dive into the research topics of 'A stellar feedback origin for neutral hydrogen in high-redshift quasar-mass haloes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this