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Kavli Institute for Cosmology, Cambridge


A non-linear solution to the $S_8$ tension II: Analysis of DES Year 3 cosmic shear. (arXiv:2305.09827v1 [astro-ph.CO])

Mon, 22/05/2023 - 11:10

Weak galaxy lensing surveys have consistently reported low values of the $S_8$ parameter compared to the $\textit{Planck}\ \Lambda\rm{CDM}$ cosmology. Amon & Efstathiou (2022) used KiDS-1000 cosmic shear measurements to propose that this tension can be reconciled if the matter fluctuation spectrum is suppressed more strongly on non-linear scales than assumed in state-of-the-art hydrodynamical simulations. In this paper, we investigate cosmic shear data from the Dark Energy Survey (DES) Year 3. The non-linear suppression of the matter power spectrum required to resolve the $S_8$ tension between DES and the $\textit{Planck}\ \Lambda\rm{CDM}$ model is not as strong as inferred using KiDS data, but is still more extreme than predictions from recent numerical simulations. An alternative possibility is that non-standard dark matter contributes to the required suppression. We investigate the redshift and scale dependence of the suppression of the matter power spectrum. If our proposed explanation of the $S_8$ tension is correct, the required suppression must extend into the mildly non-linear regime to wavenumbers $k\sim 0.2 h {\rm Mpc}^{-1}$. In addition, all measures of $S_8$ using linear scales should agree with the $\textit{Planck}\ \Lambda\rm{CDM}$ cosmology, an expectation that will be testable to high precision in the near future.

An empirical study of dust properties at the earliest epochs. (arXiv:2305.09714v1 [astro-ph.GA])

Mon, 22/05/2023 - 11:01

We present an empirical analysis of the properties of dust-continuum emission in a sample of 17 galaxies in the early Universe ($4 < z < 8$) with well-sampled far-infrared (FIR) spectral energy distributions (SEDs) compiled from the literature. We place our results into context by self-consistently comparing to samples of nearby star-forming galaxies, luminous infrared galaxies (LIRGs), and quasars. With the exception of two sources, we find no significant evolution in the dust emissivity index across cosmic time, measuring a consistent value of $\beta_\text{IR} = 1.8 \pm 0.3$ at $z > 4$, suggesting the effective dust properties do not change dramatically for most galaxies. Despite having comparable stellar masses, we find the high-redshift galaxies to be similar to, or even more extreme than, LIRGs in the HERUS sample in terms of dust temperature ($T_\text{dust} > 40 \, \mathrm{K}$) and IR luminosity ($L_\text{IR} > 10^{11} \, \mathrm{L_\odot}$). We find the dust temperature evolves mildly towards high redshift, though the LIRGs and quasars exhibit elevated temperatures indicating a more efficient and/or additional heating mechanism. Where available, we compare stellar-mass estimates to our inferred dust masses, whose degeneracy with dust temperature can only be mitigated with a well-constrained SED. In merely half of the cases the dust yield may be explained by supernovae alone, with four sources ($44\%$) significantly exceeding a highly optimistic yield where $M_\text{dust} \approx 0.01 M_*$. We discuss possible explanations for this apparent inconsistency and potential observational biases in the measurements of the dust properties of high-redshift galaxies, including in the current IR-bright sample.

Optimizing the Evolution of Perturbations in the $\Lambda$CDM Universe. (arXiv:2305.09337v1 [astro-ph.CO])

Thu, 18/05/2023 - 11:07

Perturbation theory is a powerful tool for studying large-scale structure formation in the universe and calculating observables such as the power spectrum or bispectrum. However, beyond linear order, typically this is done by assuming a simplification in the time-dependence of gravitational-coupling kernels between the matter and velocity fluctuations. Though the true dependencies are known for Lambda cold dark matter cosmologies, they are ignored due to the computational costs associated with considering them in full and, instead, are replaced by simpler dependencies valid for an Einstein--de-Sitter cosmology. Here we develop, implement and demonstrate the effectiveness of a new numerical method for finding the full dynamical evolution of these kernels to all perturbative orders based upon spectral methods using Chebyshev polynomials. This method is found to be orders of magnitude more efficient than direct numerical solvers while still producing highly accurate and reliable results. A code implementation of the Chebyshev spectral method is then presented and characterised. The code has been made publicly available alongside this paper. We expect our method to be of use for interpretation of upcoming galaxy clustering measurements.

Mini-Quenching of High-Redshift Galaxies by Bursty Star Formation. (arXiv:2305.07066v1 [astro-ph.GA])

Tue, 16/05/2023 - 10:23

The recent observation of a low-mass $z=5.2$ and an intermediate-mass $z=7.3$ (JADES-GS-z7-01-QU) quenched galaxy with JWST / NIRSpec is the first evidence of halted star formation above $z\sim 5$. Here we show how bursty star formation at high redshift gives rise to temporarily quenched, or miniquenched galaxies in the mass range $M_{\star} = 10^7-10^9 \ M_{\odot}$ using three models of galaxy formation: the periodic box simulation IllustrisTNG, the zoom-in simulation VELA and an empirical halo model. The main causes for mini-quenching are stellar feedback, lack of gas accretion onto galaxies and galaxy-galaxy interactions. The abundance of mini-quenching events agrees across the three models: the population first appears below $z\sim 8$, after which the fraction of miniquenched galaxies increases with cosmic time, from $\sim 0.5$% at $z=7$ to $\sim 1-2$% at $z=4$, corresponding to comoving number densities of $8.0\times 10^{-6}$ Mpc$^{-3}$ and $5.4\times 10^{-4}$ Mpc$^{-3}$, respectively. The star formation rate duty cycle ($f_{\mathrm{duty}}\sim 99.56^{+0.4}_{-4.5}$% at $z=7$) inferred for VELA galaxies is consistent therewith. Star formation histories (SFHs) in VELA suggest that mini-quenching at $z=4-8$ is short-lived with a duration of $\sim 20-40$ Myr, which is close to the free-fall timescale of the inner halo. However, mock spectral energy distributions of miniquenched galaxies in IllustrisTNG and VELA do not match JADES-GS-z7-01-QU photometry, unless their SFHs are artificially altered to be more bursty on timescales of $\sim 40$ Myr. Studying miniquenched galaxies might aid in calibrating the sub-grid models governing galaxy formation, as these may not generate sufficient burstiness at high redshift to explain the SFH inferred for JADES-GS-z7-01-QU.

JADES: Insights on the low-mass end of the mass--metallicity--star-formation rate relation at $3 < z < 10$ from deep JWST/NIRSpec spectroscopy. (arXiv:2304.08516v1 [astro-ph.GA])

Thu, 20/04/2023 - 10:25

We analyse the gas-phase metallicity properties of a sample of 66 low stellar mass (log M*/M_sun < 8.5) galaxies at 3<z<10, observed with JWST/NIRSpec as part of the JADES programme in its deep GOODS-S tier. By combining this sample with more massive galaxies at similar redshifts from other programmes, we study the scaling relations between stellar mass (M*), oxygen abundance (O/H), and star-formation rate (SFR) across three orders of magnitude in mass out to the epoch of early galaxy assembly. We find evidence for a shallower slope at the low-mass-end of the mass-metallicity relation (MZR), with 12 + log(O/H) = (7.88 +- 0.03) + (0.17 +- 0.04) log(M*/10^8 M_sun), in good agreement with the MZR probed by local analogues of high-redshift systems like `green pea' and `blueberry' galaxies. The inferred slope is well matched by models including `momentum-driven' SNe winds, suggesting that feedback mechanisms in dwarf galaxies (and at high-z) might be different from those in place at higher masses. The evolution in the normalisation is instead observed to be relatively mild compared to previous determinations of the MZR at z~3 (~0.1-0.2 dex on average). We also find a progressive deviation from the local fundamental metallicity relation (FMR) as a function of redshift, especially at z>6, with galaxies significantly less enriched (by ~0.4 dex on average) than predicted given their M* and SFR. These observations are consistent with an enhanced stochasticity in the accretion rate from the cosmic web, and/or with an increased efficiency in metal removals by outflows, prompting us to reconsider the nature of the relationship between M*, O/H, and SFR in the early Universe.

Signatures of Cosmic Ray Heating in 21-cm Observables. (arXiv:2304.07201v1 [astro-ph.CO])

Tue, 18/04/2023 - 12:32

Cosmic rays generated by supernovae carry away a significant portion of the lifetime energy emission of their parent star, making them a plausible mechanism for heating the early universe intergalactic medium (IGM). Following a review of the existing literature on cosmic ray heating, we develop a flexible model of this heating mechanism for use in semi-numerical 21-cm signal simulations and conduct the first investigations of the signatures it imprints on the 21-cm power spectrum and tomographic maps. We find that cosmic ray heating of the IGM is short-ranged, leading to heating clustered around star-forming sites, and a sharp contrast between heated regions of 21-cm emission and unheated regions of absorption. This contrast results in greater small-scale power for cosmic ray heated scenarios compared to what is found for X-ray heating, thus suggesting a way to test the nature of IGM heating with future 21-cm observations. Finally, we find an unexpectedly rich thermal history in models where cosmic rays can only escape efficiently from low-mass halos, such as in scenarios where these energetic particles originate from population III star supernovae remnants. The interplay of heating and the Lyman-Werner feedback in these models can produce a local peak in the IGM kinetic temperature and, for a limited parameter range, a flattened absorption trough in the global 21-cm signal.

The Kinematics, Metallicities, and Orbits of Six Recently Discovered Galactic Star Clusters with Magellan/M2FS Spectroscopy. (arXiv:2304.06904v1 [astro-ph.GA])

Tue, 18/04/2023 - 12:30

We present Magellan/M2FS spectroscopy of four recently discovered Milky Way star clusters (Gran 3, Gran 4, Garro 01, LP 866) and two newly discovered open clusters (Gaia 9, Gaia 10) at low Galactic latitudes. We measure line-of-sight velocities and stellar parameters ([Fe/H], $\log{g}$, $T_{\rm eff}$, [Mg/Fe]) from high resolution spectroscopy centered on the Mg triplet and identify 20-80 members per star cluster. We determine the kinematics and chemical properties of each cluster and measure the systemic proper motion and orbital properties by utilizing Gaia astrometry. We find Gran 3 to be an old, metal-poor (mean metallicity of [Fe/H]=-1.84) globular cluster located in the Galactic bulge on a retrograde orbit. Gran 4 is an old, metal-poor ([Fe/H]}=-1.84) globular cluster with a halo-like orbit that happens to be passing through the Galactic plane. The orbital properties of Gran 4 are consistent with the proposed LMS-1/Wukong and/or Helmi streams merger events. Garro 01 is an old, metal-rich ([Fe/H]=-0.30) globular cluster on a near circular orbit in the outer disk. Gaia 9 and Gaia 10 are among the most distant known open clusters at $R_{GC}\sim 18, 21.2~kpc$ and most metal-poor with [Fe/H]~-0.50,-0.46 for Gaia 9 and Gaia 10, respectively. LP 866 is a nearby, metal-rich open cluster ([Fe/H]$=+0.1$). The discovery and confirmation of multiple star clusters in the Galactic plane shows the power of {\it Gaia} astrometry and the star cluster census remains incomplete.

Measuring the photo-ionization rate, neutral fraction and mean free path of HI ionizing photons at $4.9 \leq z \leq 6.0$ from a large sample of XShooter and ESI spectra. (arXiv:2304.02038v1 [astro-ph.CO])

Thu, 06/04/2023 - 09:55

We measure the mean free path ($\lambda_{\rm mfp,HI}$), photo-ionization rate ($\langle \Gamma_{\rm HI} \rangle$) and neutral fraction ($\langle f_{\rm HI} \rangle$) of hydrogen in 12 redshift bins at $4.85<z<6.05$ from a large sample of moderate resolution XShooter and ESI QSO absorption spectra. The fluctuations in ionizing radiation field are modeled by post-processing simulations from the Sherwood suite using our new code ''EXtended reionization based on the Code for Ionization and Temperature Evolution'' (EX-CITE). EX-CITE uses efficient Octree summation for computing intergalactic medium attenuation and can generate large number of high resolution $\Gamma_{\rm HI}$ fluctuation models. Our simulation with EX-CITE shows remarkable agreement with simulations performed with the radiative transfer code Aton and can recover the simulated parameters within $1\sigma$ uncertainty. We measure the three parameters by forward-modeling the Ly$\alpha$ forest and comparing the effective optical depth ($\tau_{\rm eff, HI}$) distribution in simulations and observations. The final uncertainties in our measured parameters account for the uncertainties due to thermal parameters, modeling parameters, observational systematics and cosmic variance. Our best fit parameters show significant evolution with redshift such that $\lambda_{\rm mfp,HI}$ and $\langle f_{\rm HI} \rangle$ decreases and increases by a factor $\sim 6$ and $\sim 10^{4}$, respectively from $z \sim 5$ to $z \sim 6$. By comparing our $\lambda_{\rm mfp,HI}$, $\langle \Gamma_{\rm HI} \rangle$ and $\langle f_{\rm HI} \rangle$ evolution with that in state-of-the-art Aton radiative transfer simulations and the Thesan and CoDa-III simulations, we find that our best fit parameter evolution is consistent with a model in which reionization completes by $z \sim 5.2$.

An investigation of the circumgalactic medium around z~2.2 AGN with ACA and ALMA. (arXiv:2303.17488v1 [astro-ph.GA])

Mon, 03/04/2023 - 10:00

While observations of molecular gas at cosmic noon and beyond have focused on the gas within galaxies (i.e., the interstellar medium; ISM), it is also crucial to study the molecular gas reservoirs surrounding each galaxy (i.e., in the circumgalactic medium; CGM). Recent observations of galaxies and quasars hosts at high redshift (z>2) have revealed evidence for cold gaseous halos of scale r_CGM~10kpc, with one discovery of a molecular halo with r_CGM~200kpc and a molecular gas mass one order of magnitude larger than the ISM of the central galaxy. As a follow-up, we present deep ACA and ALMA observations of CO(3-2) from this source and two other quasar host galaxies at z~2.2. While we find evidence for CO emission on scales of r~10kpc, we do not find evidence for molecular gas on scales larger than r>20 kpc. Therefore, our deep data do not confirm the existence of massive molecular halos on scales of ~100 kpc for these X-ray selected quasars. As an interesting by-product of our deep observations, we obtain the tentative detection of a negative continuum signal on scales larger than r>200kpc, which might be tracing the Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect associated with the halo heated by the active galactic nucleus (AGN). If confirmed with deeper data, this could be direct evidence of the preventive AGN feedback process expected by cosmological simulations.

188,000 Candidate Very Metal-poor Stars in Gaia DR3 XP Spectra. (arXiv:2303.17676v1 [astro-ph.GA])

Mon, 03/04/2023 - 09:36

Very metal-poor stars ([Fe/H] < -2) in the Milky Way are fossil records of early chemical evolution and the assembly and structure of the Galaxy. However, they are rare and hard to find. Gaia DR3 has provided over 200 million low-resolution (R = 50) XP spectra, which provides an opportunity to greatly increase the number of candidate metal-poor stars. In this work, we utilise the XGBoost classification algorithm to identify about 188,000 very metal-poor star candidates. Compared to past work, we increase the candidate metal-poor sample by about an order of magnitude, with comparable or better purity than past studies. Firstly, we develop three classifiers for bright stars (BP < 16). They are classifier-T (for Turn-off stars), classifier-GC (for Giant stars with high completeness), and classifier-GP (for Giant stars with high purity) with expected purity of 47%/47%/74% and completeness of 40%/94%/65% respectively. These three classifiers obtained a total of 11,000/116,000/45,000 bright metal-poor candidates. We apply model-T and model-GP on faint stars (BP > 16) and obtain 13,000/48,500 additional metal-poor candidates with purity 40%/50%, respectively. We make our metal-poor star catalogs publicly available, for further exploration of the metal-poor Milky Way.

Deciphering Lyman-$\alpha$ Emission Deep into the Epoch of Reionisation. (arXiv:2303.16225v1 [astro-ph.GA])

Fri, 31/03/2023 - 10:01

A major event in cosmic history is the genesis of the first starlight in our Universe, ending the ''Dark Ages''. During this epoch, the earliest luminous sources were enshrouded in neutral and pristine gas, which was gradually ionised in a process called ''reionisation''. Hence, one of the brightest emission lines in star-forming galaxies, Lyman-$\alpha$ (Ly-$\alpha$), was predicted to emerge only towards the end of the epoch of reionisation, about one billion years after the Big Bang. However, this picture has been challenged over the past decade by the surprising detection of Ly-$\alpha$ in galaxies less than 500 million years old. Here we show, by taking advantage of both high-resolution and high-sensitivity images from the James Webb Space Telescope programs PRIMER, CEERS and FRESCO, that all galaxies in our sample of Ly-$\alpha$ emitters deep in the epoch of reionisation have close companions. To understand the physical processes that lead to the observed Ly-$\alpha$ emission in our sample, we take advantage of novel on-the-fly radiative transfer magnetohydrodynamical simulations with cosmic ray feedback. We find that in the early Universe, the rapid build up of mass through frequent galactic mergers leads to very bursty star formation which in turn drives episodes of high intrinsic Ly-$\alpha$ emission and facilitates the escape of Ly-$\alpha$ photons along channels cleared of neutral gas. These merging galaxies reside in clustered environments thus creating sufficiently large ionised bubbles. This presents a solution to the long-standing puzzle of the detection of Ly-$\alpha$ emission deep into the epoch of reionisation.

Stellar mass, not dynamical mass nor gravitational potential, drives the mass-metallicity relationship. (arXiv:2303.08145v1 [astro-ph.GA])

Thu, 23/03/2023 - 11:14

The widely known relation between stellar mass and gas metallicity (mass-metallicity relation, MZR) in galaxies is often ascribed to the higher capability of more massive systems to retain metals against the action of galactic outflows. In this scenario the stellar mass would simply be an indirect proxy of the dynamical mass or of the gravitational potential. We test this scenario by using a sample of more than one thousand star-forming galaxies from the MaNGA survey for which dynamical masses have been accurately determined. By using three different methods (average dispersion, Partial Correlation Coefficients, Random Forest) we unambiguously find that the gas metallicity depends primarily and fundamentally on the stellar mass. Once the dependence on stellar mass is taken into account, there is little or no dependence on either dynamical mass or gravitational potential (and, if anything, the metallicity dependence on the latter quantities is inverted). Our result indicates that the MZR is not caused by the retention of metals in more massive galaxies. The direct, fundamental dependence of metallicity on stellar mass suggests the much simpler scenario in which the MZR is just a consequence of the stellar mass being proportional to the integral of metals production in the galaxy.

Photometric study of the late-time near-infrared plateau in Type Ia supernovae. (arXiv:2303.09548v1 [astro-ph.HE])

Thu, 23/03/2023 - 11:13

We present an in-depth study of the late-time near-infrared plateau in Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), which occurs between 70-500 d. We double the existing sample of SNe Ia observed during the late-time near-infrared plateau with new observations taken with the Hubble Space Telescope, Gemini, New Technology Telescope, the 3.5m Calar Alto Telescope, and the Nordic Optical Telescope. Our sample consists of 24 nearby SNe Ia at redshift < 0.025. We are able to confirm that no plateau exists in the Ks band for most normal SNe Ia. SNe Ia with broader optical light curves at peak tend to have a higher average brightness on the plateau in J and H, most likely due to a shallower decline in the preceding 100 d. SNe Ia that are more luminous at peak also show a steeper decline during the plateau phase in H. We compare our data to state-of-the-art radiative transfer models of nebular SNe Ia in the near-infrared. We find good agreement with the sub-Mch model that has reduced non-thermal ionisation rates, but no physical justification for reducing these rates has yet been proposed. An analysis of the spectral evolution during the plateau demonstrates that the ratio of [Fe II] to [Fe III] contribution in a near-infrared filter determines the light curve evolution in said filter. We find that overluminous SNe decline slower during the plateau than expected from the trend seen for normal SNe Ia

Does gravitational confinement sustain flat galactic rotation curves without dark matter?. (arXiv:2303.11094v1 [gr-qc])

Thu, 23/03/2023 - 10:53

The short answer is $\textit{probably no}$. Specifically, this paper considers a recent body of work which suggests that general relativity requires neither the support of dark matter halos, nor unconventional baryonic profiles, nor any infrared modification, to be consistent after all with the anomalously rapid orbits observed in many galactic discs. In particular, the gravitoelectric flux is alleged to collapse nonlinearly into regions of enhanced force, in an analogue of the colour-confining chromoelectric flux tube model which has yet to be captured by conventional post-Newtonian methods. However, we show that the scalar gravity model underpinning this proposal is wholly inconsistent with the nonlinear Einstein equations, which themselves appear to prohibit the linear confinement-type potentials which could indicate a disordered gravitational phase. Our findings challenge the fidelity of the previous Euclidean lattice analyses. We confirm by direct calculation using a number of perturbation schemes and gauges that the next-to-leading order gravitoelectric correction to the rotation curve of a reasonable baryonic profile would be imperceptible. The `gravitoelectric flux collapse' programme was also supported by using intragalactic lensing near a specific galactic baryon profile as a field strength heuristic. We recalculate this lensing effect, and conclude that it has been overstated by three orders of magnitude. As a by-product, our analysis suggests fresh approaches to (i) the fluid ball conjecture and (ii) gravitational energy localisation, both to be pursued in future work. In summary, whilst it may be interesting to consider the possibility of confinement-type effects in gravity, we may at least conclude here that confinement-type effects $\textit{cannot play any significant part}$ in explaining flat or rising galactic rotation curves without dark matter halos.

Gravitomagnetism and galaxy rotation curves: a cautionary tale. (arXiv:2303.06115v1 [gr-qc])

Mon, 13/03/2023 - 11:59

We investigate recent claims that gravitomagnetic effects in linearised general relativity can explain flat and rising rotation curves, such as those observed in galaxies, without the need for dark matter. If one models a galaxy as an axisymmetric, stationary, rotating, non-relativistic and pressureless 'dust' of stars in the gravitoelectromagnetic (GEM) formalism, we show that GEM effects on the circular velocity $v$ of a star are $O(10^{-6})$ smaller than the standard Newtonian (gravitoelectric) effects. Moreover, we find that gravitomagnetic effects are $O(10^{-6})$ too small to provide the vertical support necessary to maintain the dynamical equilibrium assumed. These issues are obscured if one constructs a single equation for $v$, as considered previously. We nevertheless solve this equation for a galaxy having a Miyamoto--Nagai density profile. We show that for the values of the mass, $M$, and semi-major and semi-minor axes, $a$ and $b$, typical for a dwarf galaxy, the rotation curve depends only very weakly on $M$. Moreover, for aspect ratios $a/b > 2$, the rotation curves are concave over their entire range, which does not match observations in any galaxy. Most importantly, we show that for the poloidal gravitomagnetic flux $\psi$ to provide the necessary vertical support, it must become singular at the origin. This originates from the unwitting, but forbidden, inclusion of free-space solutions of the Poisson-like equation that determines $\psi$, hence ruling out the methodology as a means of explaining flat galaxy rotation curves. We further show that recent deliberate attempts to leverage such free-space solutions against the rotation curve problem yield no deterministic modification outside the thin disk approximation, and that, in any case, the homogeneous contributions to $\psi$ are ruled out by the boundary value problem posed by any physical axisymmetric galaxy.

Evolution in the orbital structure of quiescent galaxies from MAGPI, LEGA-C and SAMI surveys: direct evidence for merger-driven growth over the last 7 Gy. (arXiv:2303.05520v1 [astro-ph.GA])

Mon, 13/03/2023 - 11:54

We present the first study of spatially integrated higher-order stellar kinematics over cosmic time. We use deep rest-frame optical spectroscopy of quiescent galaxies at redshifts z=0.05, 0.3 and 0.8 from the SAMI, MAGPI and LEGA-C surveys to measure the excess kurtosis $h_4$ of the stellar velocity distribution, the latter parametrised as a Gauss-Hermite series. Conservatively using a redshift-independent cut in stellar mass ($M_\star = 10^{11}\,{\rm M}_\odot$), and matching the stellar-mass distributions of our samples, we find 7 $\sigma$ evidence of $h_4$ increasing with cosmic time, from a median value of 0.019$\pm$0.002 at z=0.8 to 0.059$\pm$0.004 at z=0.06. Alternatively, we use a physically motivated sample selection, based on the mass distribution of the progenitors of local quiescent galaxies as inferred from numerical simulations; in this case, we find 10 $\sigma$ evidence. This evolution suggests that, over the last 7 Gyr, there has been a gradual decrease in the rotation-to-dispersion ratio and an increase in the radial anisotropy of the stellar velocity distribution, qualitatively consistent with accretion of gas-poor satellites. These findings demonstrate that massive galaxies continue to accrete mass and increase their dispersion support after becoming quiescent.

Possible evidence for a large-scale enhancement in the Lyman-$\alpha$ forest power spectrum at redshift $\mathbf{\textit{z}\geq 4}$. (arXiv:2303.05167v1 [astro-ph.CO])

Fri, 10/03/2023 - 09:38

Inhomogeneous reionization enhances the 1D Lyman-$\alpha$ forest power spectrum on large scales at redshifts $z\geq4$. This is due to coherent fluctuations in the ionized hydrogen fraction that arise from large-scale variations in the post-reionization gas temperature, which fade as the gas cools. It is therefore possible to use these relic fluctuations to constrain inhomogeneous reionization with the power spectrum at wavenumbers $\log_{10}(k/{\rm km^{-1}\,s})\lesssim -1.5$. We use the Sherwood-Relics suite of hybrid radiation hydrodynamical simulations to perform a first analysis of new Lyman-$\alpha$ forest power spectrum measurements at $4.0\leq z \leq 4.6$. These data extend to wavenumbers $\log_{10}(k/{\rm km^{-1}\,s})\simeq -3$, with a relative uncertainty of $10$--$20$ per cent in each wavenumber bin. Our analysis returns a $2.7\sigma$ preference for an enhancement in the Lyman-$\alpha$ forest power spectrum at large scales, in excess of that expected for a spatially uniform ultraviolet background. This large-scale enhancement could be a signature of inhomogeneous reionization, although the statistical precision of these data is not yet sufficient for obtaining a robust detection of the relic post-reionization fluctuations. We show that future power spectrum measurements with relative uncertainties of $\lesssim 2.5$ per cent should provide unambiguous evidence for an enhancement in the power spectrum on large scales.

Examining the Decline in the C IV Content of the Universe over 4.3 < z < 6.3 using the E-XQR-30 Sample. (arXiv:2303.02816v1 [astro-ph.GA])

Wed, 08/03/2023 - 09:14

Intervening CIV absorbers are key tracers of metal-enriched gas in galaxy halos over cosmic time. Previous studies suggest that the CIV cosmic mass density ($\Omega_{\rm CIV}$) decreases slowly over 1.5 $\lesssim z\lesssim$ 5 before declining rapidly at $z\gtrsim$ 5, but the cause of this downturn is poorly understood. We characterize the $\Omega_{\rm CIV}$ evolution over 4.3 $\lesssim z\lesssim$ 6.3 using 260 absorbers found in 42 XSHOOTER spectra of $z\sim$ 6 quasars, of which 30 come from the ESO Large Program XQR-30. The large sample enables us to robustly constrain the rate and timing of the downturn. We find that $\Omega_{\rm CIV}$ decreases by a factor of 4.8 $\pm$ 2.0 over the ~300 Myr interval between $z\sim$ 4.7 and $z\sim$ 5.8. The slope of the column density (log N) distribution function does not change, suggesting that CIV absorption is suppressed approximately uniformly across 13.2 $\leq$ log N/cm$^{-2}$ < 15.0. Assuming that the carbon content of galaxy halos evolves as the integral of the cosmic star formation rate density (with some delay due to stellar lifetimes and outflow travel times), we show that chemical evolution alone could plausibly explain the fast decline in $\Omega_{\rm CIV}$ over 4.3 $\lesssim z\lesssim$ 6.3. However, the CIV/CII ratio decreases at the highest redshifts, so the accelerated decline in $\Omega_{\rm CIV}$ at $z\gtrsim$ 5 may be more naturally explained by rapid changes in the gas ionization state driven by evolution of the UV background towards the end of hydrogen reionization.

Black hole mergers as tracers of spinning massive black hole and galaxy populations in the Obelisk simulation. (arXiv:2303.00766v1 [astro-ph.GA])

Sat, 04/03/2023 - 14:00

Massive black hole (BH) mergers will be key targets of future gravitational wave and electromagnetic observational facilities. In order to constrain BH evolution with the information extracted from BH mergers, one must take into account the complex relationship between the population of merging BHs and the global BH population. We analyse the high-resolution cosmological radiation-hydrodynamics simulation Obelisk, run to redshift $z=3.5$, to study the properties of the merging BH population, and its differences with the underlying global BH population in terms of BH and galaxy properties. We calculate in post-processing dynamical delays between the merger in the simulation at the resolution limit and the actual coalescence well below the resolution scale. We find that merging BHs are hosted in relatively massive galaxies with stellar mass $M_\ast\gtrsim10^9\,M_\odot$. Given that galaxy mass is correlated with other BH and galaxy properties, BH mergers tend to also have higher total BH mass and higher BH accretion rates than the global population of main BHs. These differences generally disappear if the merger population is compared with a BH population sampled with the same galaxy mass distribution as merger hosts. Galaxy mergers can temporarily boost the BH accretion rate and the host's star formation rate, which can remain active at the BH merger if sub-resolution delays are not taken into account. When dynamical delays are taken into account the burst has generally faded by the time the BHs merge. BH spins are followed self-consistently in the simulation, under the effect of accretion and BH mergers. We find that merging BHs have higher spins than the global population, but similar or somewhat lower spins compared to a mass-matched sample. For our sample, mergers tend to decrease the spin of the final BH remnant.

Discovery of a quiescent galaxy at z=7.3. (arXiv:2302.14155v1 [astro-ph.GA])

Thu, 02/03/2023 - 10:24

Local galaxies are known to broadly follow a bimodal distribution: actively star forming and quiescent system (i.e. galaxies with no or negligible star formation activity at the epoch of observation). Why, when and how such bimodality was established, and whether it has been associated with different processes at different cosmic epochs, is still a key open question in extragalactic astrophysics. Directly observing early quiescent galaxies in the primordial Universe is therefore of utmost importance to constraining models of galaxy formation and transformation. Early quiescent galaxies have been identified out to redshift $z < 5$, and these are all found to be massive ($M_{*}>10^{10}~M_{\odot}$). Here we report the discovery of a quiescent galaxy at z$=$7.3, when the Universe was only 700 Myr old - about 5% of its current age. The JWST/NIRSpec spectrum of this galaxy from our JADES programme exhibits a complete absence of nebular emission lines, while the Balmer break and Ly$\alpha$ drop are unambiguously detected. We infer that this galaxy experienced a short and intense burst of star formation followed by rapid quenching, about 10-20 Myr before the epoch of observation. Particularly interesting is that the mass of this quiescent galaxy is only $\sim$4-6$\times 10^8~M_{\odot}$. This mass range is sensitive to various feedback mechanisms that can result in temporary or permanent quiescence. Therefore this galaxy represents a unique opportunity to learn more about galaxy formation and transformation in the early Universe.