High Angular Momentum Halo Gas: a Feedback and Code-Independent Prediction of LCDM [GA]


We investigate angular momentum acquisition in Milky Way sized galaxies by comparing five high resolution zoom-in simulations, each implementing identical cosmological initial conditions, but utilizing different hydrodynamic codes: Enzo, Art, Ramses, Arepo, and Gizmo-PSPH. Each code implements a distinct set of feedback and star formation prescriptions. We find that while many galaxy and halo properties vary between the different codes (and feedback prescriptions), there is qualitative agreement on the process of angular momentum acquisition in the galaxy’s halo. In all simulations, cold filamentary gas accretion to the halo results in ~4 times more specific angular momentum in cold halo gas ($\lambda_{cold} \simeq 0.15$) than in the dark matter halo. At z>1, this inflow frequently results in the formation of transient cold flow disks—large co-rotating gaseous structures in the halo of the galaxy that are fueled, aligned, and kinematically connected to filamentary gas infall along the cosmic web. Due to the qualitative agreement among disparate simulations, we conclude that the buildup of high angular momentum halo gas and the transitory formation of cold flow disks are robust predictions of LCDM galaxy formation. A growing body of observational evidence suggests that this process is borne out in the real universe.

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K. Stewart, A. Maller, J. Onorbe, et. al.
Wed, 29 Jun 16

Comments: 13 pages, 8 figures, 1 table; submitted to ApJ