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A unified model for age-velocity dispersion relations in Local Group galaxies: Disentangling ISM turbulence and latent dynamical heating

Leaman, R and Mendel, JT and Wisnioski, E and Brooks, AM and Beasley, MA and Starkenburg, E and Martig, M and Battaglia, G and Christensen, C and Cole, AA and Boer, TJLD and Wills, D (2017) A unified model for age-velocity dispersion relations in Local Group galaxies: Disentangling ISM turbulence and latent dynamical heating. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 472 (2). pp. 1879-1896. ISSN 0035-8711

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Abstract

We analyze age-velocity dispersion relations (AVRs) from kinematics of individual stars in eight Local Group galaxies ranging in mass from Carina ($M_{*} \sim 10^{6}$) to M31 ($M_{*} \sim 10^{11}$). Observationally the $\sigma$ vs. stellar age trends can be interpreted as dynamical heating of the stars by GMCs, bars/spiral arms, or merging subhalos; alternatively the stars could have simply been born out of a more turbulent ISM at high redshift and retain that larger velocity dispersion till present day - consistent with recent IFU studies. To ascertain the dominant mechanism and better understand the impact of instabilities and feedback, we develop models based on observed SFHs of these Local Group galaxies in order to create an evolutionary formalism which describes the ISM velocity dispersion due to a galaxy's evolving gas fraction. These empirical models relax the common assumption that the stars are born from gas which has constant velocity dispersion at all redshifts. Using only the observed SFHs as input, the ISM velocity dispersion and a mid-plane scattering model fits the observed AVRs of low mass galaxies without fine tuning. Higher mass galaxies above $M_{vir} > 10^{11}$ need a larger contribution from latent dynamical heating processes (for example minor mergers), in excess of the ISM model. Using the SFHs we also find that supernovae feedback does not appear to be a dominant driver of the gas velocity dispersion compared to gravitational instabilities - at least for dispersions $\sigma \gtrsim 25$ km/s. Together our results point to stars being born with a velocity dispersion close to that of the gas at the time of their formation, with latent dynamical heating operating with a galaxy mass-dependent efficiency. These semi-empirical relations may help constrain the efficiency of feedback and its impact on the physics of disk settling in galaxy formation simulations.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2017 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
Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2017 09:14
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2017 09:14
DOI or Identification number: 10.1093/mnras/stx2014
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/7386

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