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Paper: Simulating the Gaseous Halos of Galaxies
Volume: 396, Formation and Evolution of Galaxy Disks
Page: 439
Authors: Kaufmann, T.; Bullock, J.S.; Maller, A.; Fang, T.
Abstract: Observations of local X-ray absorbers, high-velocity clouds, and distant quasar absorption line systems suggest that a significant fraction of baryons may reside in multi-phase, low-density, extended, ∼ 100 kpc, gaseous halos around normal galaxies. We present a pair of high-resolution smoothed particle hydrodynamics simulations that explore the nature of cool gas infall into galaxies, and the physical conditions necessary to support the type of gaseous halos that seem to be required by observations. The two simulations are identical other than their initial gas density distributions: one is initialized with a standard hot gas halo that traces the cuspy profile of the dark matter, and the other is initialized with a cored hot halo with a high central entropy, as might be expected in models with early pre-heating feedback. Galaxy formation proceeds in dramatically different fashions in these two cases. While the standard cuspy halo cools rapidly, primarily from the central region, the cored halo is quasi-stable for ∼ 4 Gyr and eventually cools via the fragmentation and infall of clouds from ∼ 100 kpc distances. After 10 Gyr of cooling, the standard halo’s X-ray luminosity is ∼ 100 times current limits and the resultant disk galaxy is twice as massive as the Milky Way. In contrast, the cored halo has an X-ray luminosity that is in line with observations, an extended cloud population reminiscent of the high-velocity cloud population of the Milky Way, and a disk galaxy with half the mass and ∼ 50% more specific angular momentum than the disk formed in the low-entropy simulation. These results suggest that the distribution and character of halo gas provides an important testing ground for galaxy formation models and may be used to constrain the physics of galaxy formation.
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