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Molecular hydrogen abundances of galaxies in the EAGLE simulations

Lagos, CDP and Crain, RA and Schaye, J and Furlong, M and Frenk, CS and Bower, RG and Schaller, M and Theuns, T and Trayford, JW and Bahe, YM and Vecchia, CD (2015) Molecular hydrogen abundances of galaxies in the EAGLE simulations. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 452 (4). pp. 3815-3837. ISSN 0035-8711

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We investigate the abundance of galactic molecular hydrogen (H$_2$) in the "Evolution and Assembly of GaLaxies and their Environments" (EAGLE) cosmological hydrodynamic simulations. We assign H$_2$ masses to gas particles in the simulations in post-processing using two different prescriptions that depend on the local dust-to-gas ratio and the interstellar radiation field. Both result in H$_2$ galaxy mass functions that agree well with observations in the local and high-redshift Universe. The simulations reproduce the observed scaling relations between the mass of H$_2$ and the stellar mass, star formation rate and stellar surface density. Towards high edshifts, galaxies in the simulations display larger H$_2$ mass fractions, and correspondingly lower H$_2$ depletion timescales, also in good agreement with observations. The comoving mass density of H$_2$ in units of the critical density, $\Omega_{\rm H_2}$, peaks at $z\approx 1.2-1.5$, later than the predicted peak of the cosmic star formation rate activity, at $z\approx 2$. This difference stems from the decrease in gas metallicity and increase in interstellar radiation field with redshift, both of which hamper H$_2$ formation. We find that the cosmic H$_2$ budget is dominated by galaxies with $M_{\rm H_2}>10^9\,\rm M_{\odot}$, star formation rates $>10\,\rm M_{\odot}\,\rm yr^{-1}$ and stellar masses $M_{\rm stellar}>10^{10}\,\rm M_{\odot}$, which are readily observable in the optical and near-IR. The match between the H$_2$ properties of galaxies that emerge in the simulations and observations is remarkable, particularly since H$_2$ observations were not used to adjust parameters in EAGLE.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2015 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Uncontrolled Keywords: 0201 Astronomical And Space Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: Oxford University Press
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Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2015 13:33
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2015 13:33
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/1794

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