Star formation in mergers with cosmologically motivated initial conditions

Wouter Karman, Andrea V. Macciò, Rahul Kannan, Benjamin P. Moster, Rachel S. Somerville

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We use semi-analytic models and cosmological merger trees to provide the initial conditions for multimerger numerical hydrodynamic simulations, and exploit these simulations to explore the effect of galaxy interaction and merging on star formation (SF). We compute numerical realizations of 12 merger trees from z = 1.5 to 0.We include the effects of the large hot gaseous halo around all galaxies, following recent observations and predictions of galaxy formation models. We find that including the hot gaseous halo has a number of important effects. First, as expected, the star formation rate on long time-scales is increased due to cooling of the hot halo and refuelling of the cold gas reservoir. Secondly, we find that interactions do not always increase the SF in the long term. This is partially due to the orbiting galaxies transferring gravitational energy to the hot gaseous haloes and raising their temperature. Finally, we find that the relative size of the starburst, when including the hot halo, is much smaller than previous studies showed. Our simulations also show that the order and timing of interactions are important for the evolution of a galaxy. When multiple galaxies interact at the same time, the SF enhancement is less than when galaxies interact in series. All these effects show the importance of including hot gas and cosmologically motivated merger trees in galaxy evolution models.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2984-3000
Number of pages17
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 27 2015


  • Galaxies: active
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: interactions
  • Galaxies: star formation
  • Galaxies: starburst
  • Methods: numerical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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