A systematic look at the effects of radiative feedback on disc galaxy formation

Rok Roškar, Romain Teyssier, Oscar Agertz, Markus Wetzstein, Ben Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Scopus citations


Galaxy formation models and simulations rely on various feedback mechanisms to reproduce the observed baryonic scaling relations and galaxy morphologies. Although dwarf galaxy and giant elliptical properties can be explained using feedback from supernova and active galactic nuclei, Milky Way-sized galaxies still represent a challenge to current theories of galaxy formation. In this paper, we explore the possible role of feedback from stellar radiation in regulating the main properties of disc galaxies such as our own Milky Way. We have performed a suite of cosmological simulations of the same ~1012M{N-ary circled dot operator} halo selected based on its rather typical mass accretion history. We have implemented radiative feedback from young stars using a crude model of radiative transfer for ultraviolet and infrared radiation. However, the model is realistic enough such that the dust opacity plays a direct role in regulating the efficiency of our feedback mechanism. We have explored various models for the dust opacity, assuming different constant dust temperatures, as well as a varying dust temperature model. We find that while strong radiative feedback appears as a viable mechanism to regulate the stellarmass fraction inmassive galaxies, it also prevents the formation of discs with reasonable morphologies. In models with strong stellar radiation feedback, stellar discs are systematically too thick while the gas disc morphology is completely destroyed due to the efficient mixing between the feedback-affected gas and its surroundings. At the resolution of our simulation suite, we find it impossible to preserve spiral discmorphology while at the same time expelling enough baryons to satisfy the abundance matching constraints.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2837-2853
Number of pages17
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Galaxies: Evolution
  • Galaxies: Formation
  • Galaxies: Spiral
  • Galaxies: Structure


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