(Star)bursts of FIRE: Observational signatures of bursty star formation in galaxies

Martin Sparre, Christopher C. Hayward, Robert Feldmann, Claude André Faucher-Giguère, Alexander L. Muratov, Dušan Kereš, Philip F. Hopkins

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

  • 8 Citations

Abstract

Galaxy formation models are now able to reproduce observed relations such as the relation between galaxies' star formation rates (SFRs) and stellar masses (M*) and the stellar-mass- halo-mass relation. We demonstrate that comparisons of the short-time-scale variability in galaxy SFRs with observational data provide an additional useful constraint on the physics of galaxy formation feedback. We apply SFR indicators with different sensitivity time-scales to galaxies from the Feedback in Realistic Environments (FIRE) simulations. We find that the SFR-M* relation has a significantly greater scatter when the Hα-derived SFR is considered compared with when the far-ultraviolet (FUV)-based SFR is used. This difference is a direct consequence of bursty star formation because the FIRE galaxies exhibit order-of-magnitude SFR variations over time-scales of a few Myr. We show that the difference in the scatter between the simulated Hα- and FUV-derived SFR-M* relations at z = 2 is consistent with observational constraints. We also find that the Hα/FUV ratios predicted by the simulations at z = 0 are similar to those observed for local galaxies except for a population of low-mass (M* ≲109.5M) simulated galaxies with lower Hα/FUV ratios than observed. We suggest that future cosmological simulations should compare the Hα/FUV ratios of their galaxies with observations to constrain the feedback models employed.

LanguageEnglish
Pages88-104
Number of pages17
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume466
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

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star formation rate
star formation
bursts
signatures
galaxies
stars
rate
timescale
simulation
galactic evolution
stellar mass
environment simulation
halos
physics
sensitivity
indicator
comparison

Keywords

  • Cosmology: theory
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: formation
  • Galaxies: star formation
  • Galaxies: starburst
  • Methods: numerical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Sparre, M., Hayward, C. C., Feldmann, R., Faucher-Giguère, C. A., Muratov, A. L., Kereš, D., & Hopkins, P. F. (2017). (Star)bursts of FIRE: Observational signatures of bursty star formation in galaxies. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 466(1), 88-104. DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stw3011

(Star)bursts of FIRE : Observational signatures of bursty star formation in galaxies. / Sparre, Martin; Hayward, Christopher C.; Feldmann, Robert; Faucher-Giguère, Claude André; Muratov, Alexander L.; Kereš, Dušan; Hopkins, Philip F.

In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 466, No. 1, 2017, p. 88-104.

Research output: Research - peer-reviewArticle

Sparre, M, Hayward, CC, Feldmann, R, Faucher-Giguère, CA, Muratov, AL, Kereš, D & Hopkins, PF 2017, '(Star)bursts of FIRE: Observational signatures of bursty star formation in galaxies' Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol 466, no. 1, pp. 88-104. DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stw3011
Sparre, Martin ; Hayward, Christopher C. ; Feldmann, Robert ; Faucher-Giguère, Claude André ; Muratov, Alexander L. ; Kereš, Dušan ; Hopkins, Philip F./ (Star)bursts of FIRE : Observational signatures of bursty star formation in galaxies. In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. 2017 ; Vol. 466, No. 1. pp. 88-104
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