First Results from SMAUG: Insights into Star Formation Conditions from Spatially Resolved ISM Properties in TNG50

Bhawna Motwani, Shy Genel, Greg L. Bryan, Chang Goo Kim, Viraj Pandya, Rachel S. Somerville, Matthew C. Smith, Eve C. Ostriker, Dylan Nelson, Annalisa Pillepich, John C. Forbes, Francesco Belfiore, Rüdiger Pakmor, Lars Hernquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Physical and chemical properties of the interstellar medium (ISM) at subgalactic (∼kiloparsec) scales play an indispensable role in controlling the ability of gas to form stars. In this paper, we use the TNG50 cosmological simulation to explore the physical parameter space of eight resolved ISM properties in star-forming regions to constrain the areas of this hyperspace where most star-forming environments exist. We deconstruct our simulated galaxies spanning a wide range of mass (M = 107-1011 M) and redshift (0 ≤ z ≤ 3) into kiloparsec-sized regions and statistically analyze the gas/stellar surface densities, gas metallicity, vertical stellar velocity dispersion, epicyclic frequency, and dark-matter volumetric density representative of each region in the context of their star formation activity and environment (radial galactocentric location). By examining the star formation rate (SFR) weighted distributions of these properties, we show that stars primarily form in two distinct environmental regimes, which are brought about by an underlying bicomponent radial SFR profile in galaxies. We examine how the relative prominence of these regimes depends on galaxy mass and cosmic time. We also compare our findings with those from integral field spectroscopy observations and find similarities as well as departures. Further, using dimensionality reduction, we characterize the aforementioned hyperspace to reveal a high degree of multicollinearity in relationships among ISM properties that drive the distribution of star formation at kiloparsec scales. Based on this, we show that a reduced 3D representation underpinned by a multivariate radius relationship is sufficient to capture most of the variance in the original 8D space.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number139
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume926
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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