Gas-Rich Mergers in LCDM: Disk Survivability and the Baryonic Assembly of Galaxies

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We use N-body simulations and observationally-normalized relations between dark matter halo mass, stellar mass, and cold gas mass to derive robust expectations about the baryonic content of major mergers out to redshift z {approx} 2. First, we find that the majority of major mergers (m/M > 0.3) experienced by Milky Way size dark matter halos should have been gas-rich, and that gas-rich mergers are increasingly common at high redshift. Though the frequency of major mergers into galaxy halos in our simulations greatly exceeds the observed late-type galaxy fraction, the frequency of gas-poor major mergers is consistent with the observed fraction ... continued below

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11 pages

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Stewart, Kyle R.; Bullock, James S.; /UC, Irvine; Wechsler, Risa H.; /KIPAC, Menlo Park /SLAC; Maller, Ariyeh H. et al. August 3, 2009.

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We use N-body simulations and observationally-normalized relations between dark matter halo mass, stellar mass, and cold gas mass to derive robust expectations about the baryonic content of major mergers out to redshift z {approx} 2. First, we find that the majority of major mergers (m/M > 0.3) experienced by Milky Way size dark matter halos should have been gas-rich, and that gas-rich mergers are increasingly common at high redshift. Though the frequency of major mergers into galaxy halos in our simulations greatly exceeds the observed late-type galaxy fraction, the frequency of gas-poor major mergers is consistent with the observed fraction of bulge-dominated galaxies across the halo mass range M{sub DM} {approx} 10{sup 11} - 10{sup 13} M{sub {circle_dot}}. These results lend support to the conjecture that mergers with high baryonic gas fractions play an important role in building and/or preserving disk galaxies in the universe. Secondly, we find that there is a transition mass below which a galaxy's past major mergers were primarily gas-rich and above which they were gas poor. The associated stellar mass scale corresponds closely to that marking the observed bimodal division between blue, star-forming, disk-dominated systems and red, bulge-dominated systems with old populations. Finally, we find that the overall fraction of a galaxy's cold baryons deposited directly via major mergers is substantial. Approximately 30% of the cold baryonic material in M{sub star} {approx} 10{sup 10} M{sub {circle_dot}} (M{sub DM} {approx} 10{sup 11.5} M{sub {circle_dot}}) galaxies is accreted as cold gas in major mergers. For more massive galaxies with M{sub star} {approx} 10{sup 11} M{sub {circle_dot}} (M{sub DM} {approx} 10{sup 13} M{sub {circle_dot}} the fraction of baryons amassed in mergers is even higher, {approx} 50%, but most of these accreted baryons are delivered directly in the form of stars. This baryonic mass deposition is almost unavoidable, and provides a limit on the fraction of a galaxy's cold baryons that can originate in cold flows or from hot halo cooling.

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11 pages

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  • Journal Name: Astrophys.J.702:307-317,2009

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  • Report No.: SLAC-PUB-13715
  • Grant Number: AC02-76SF00515
  • DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/702/1/307 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 962103
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc929434

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  • August 3, 2009

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  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

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  • Dec. 15, 2016, 3:27 p.m.

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Stewart, Kyle R.; Bullock, James S.; /UC, Irvine; Wechsler, Risa H.; /KIPAC, Menlo Park /SLAC; Maller, Ariyeh H. et al. Gas-Rich Mergers in LCDM: Disk Survivability and the Baryonic Assembly of Galaxies, article, August 3, 2009; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc929434/: accessed July 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.