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The fundamental plane of star formation in galaxies revealed by the EAGLE hydrodynamical simulations

Lagos, CDP and Theuns, T and Schaye, J and Furlong, M and Bower, RG and Schaller, M and Crain, RA and Trayford, JW and Matthee, J (2016) The fundamental plane of star formation in galaxies revealed by the EAGLE hydrodynamical simulations. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 459 (3). pp. 2632-2650. ISSN 0035-8711

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We investigate correlations between different physical properties of star-forming galaxies in the "Evolution and Assembly of GaLaxies and their Environments" (EAGLE) cosmological hydrodynamical simulation suite over the redshift range $0\le z\le 4.5$. A principal component analysis reveals that neutral gas fraction ($f_{\rm gas, neutral}$), stellar mass ($M_{\rm stellar}$) and star formation rate (SFR) account for most of the variance seen in the population, with galaxies tracing a two-dimensional, nearly flat, surface in the three-dimensional space of $f_{\rm gas, neutral}-M_{\rm stellar}-\rm SFR$ with little scatter. The location of this plane varies little with redshift, whereas galaxies themselves move along the plane as their $f_{\rm gas, neutral}$ and SFR drop with redshift. The positions of galaxies along the plane are highly correlated with gas metallicity. The metallicity can therefore be robustly predicted from $f_{\rm gas, neutral}$, or from the $M_{\rm stellar}$ and SFR. We argue that the appearance of this "fundamental plane of star formation" is a consequence of self-regulation, with the plane's curvature set by the dependence of the SFR on gas density and metallicity. We analyse a large compilation of observations spanning the redshift range $0\lesssim \rm z\lesssim 2.5$, and find that such a plane is also present in the data. The properties of the observed fundamental plane of star formation are in good agreement with EAGLE's predictions.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2016 R.A. Crain et al. 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
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 25 May 2016 11:18
Last Modified: 25 May 2016 11:18
DOI or Identification number: 10.1093/mnras/stw717
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/3670

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