Kiloparsec-scale Simulations of Star Formation in Disk Galaxies. IV. Regulation of Galactic Star Formation Rates by Stellar Feedback

Michael J. Butler, Jonathan C. Tan, Romain Teyssier, Joakim Rosdahl, Sven Van Loo, Sarah Nickerson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Star formation from the interstellar medium of galactic disks is a basic process controlling the evolution of galaxies. Understanding the star formation rate (SFR) in a local patch of a disk with a given gas mass is thus an important challenge for theoretical models. Here we simulate a kiloparsec region of a disk, following the evolution of self-gravitating molecular clouds down to subparsec scales, as they form stars that then inject feedback energy by dissociating and ionizing UV photons and supernova explosions. We assess the relative importance of each feedback mechanism. We find that H2-dissociating feedback results in the largest absolute reduction in star formation compared to the run with no feedback. Subsequently adding photoionization feedback produces a more modest reduction. Our fiducial models that combine all three feedback mechanisms yield, without fine-tuning, SFRs that are in excellent agreement with observations, with H2-dissociating photons playing a crucial role. Models that only include supernova feedback-a common method in galaxy evolution simulations-settle to similar SFRs, but with very different temperatures and chemical states of the gas, and with very different spatial distributions of young stars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number82
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume841
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Keywords

  • ISM: clouds
  • evolution
  • galaxies: ISM
  • galaxies: star formation
  • radiative transfer
  • stars: formation

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Kiloparsec-scale Simulations of Star Formation in Disk Galaxies. IV. Regulation of Galactic Star Formation Rates by Stellar Feedback'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this