Stellar feedback and bulge formation in clumpy discs

Philip F. Hopkins, Dusan Kereš, Norman Murray, Eliot Quataert, Lars Hernquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

85 Scopus citations

Abstract

We use numerical simulations of isolated galaxies to study the effects of stellar feedback on the formation and evolution of giant star-forming gas 'clumps' in high-redshift, gas-rich galaxies. Such galactic discs are unstable to the formation of bound gas-rich clumps whose properties initially depend only on global disc properties, not the microphysics of feedback. In simulations without stellar feedback, clumps turn an order-unity fraction of their mass into stars and sink to the centre, forming a large bulge and kicking most of the stars out into a much more extended stellar envelope. By contrast, strong radiative stellar feedback disrupts even the most massive clumps after they turn ∼10-20 per cent of their mass into stars, in a time-scale of ∼10-100Myr, ejecting some material into a superwind and recycling the rest of the gas into the diffuse interstellar medium (ISM). This suppresses the bulge formation rate by direct 'clump coalescence' by a factor of several. However, the galactic discs do undergo significant internal evolution in the absence of mergers: clumps form and disrupt continuously and torque gas to the galactic centre. The resulting evolution is qualitatively similar to bar/spiral evolution in simulations with a more homogeneous ISM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)968-978
Number of pages11
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume427
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Keywords

  • Cosmology: theory
  • Galaxies: active
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: formation
  • Stars: formation

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