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Title: Similar star formation rate and metallicity variability time-scales drive the fundamental metallicity relation

Abstract

The fundamental metallicity relation (FMR) is a postulated correlation between galaxy stellar mass, star formation rate (SFR), and gas-phase metallicity. At its core, this relation posits that offsets from the mass–metallicity relation (MZR) at a fixed stellar mass are correlated with galactic SFR. In this Letter, we use hydrodynamical simulations to quantify the time-scales over which populations of galaxies oscillate about the average SFR and metallicity values at fixed stellar mass. We find that Illustris and IllustrisTNG predict that galaxy offsets from the star formation main sequence and MZR oscillate over similar time-scales, are often anticorrelated in their evolution, evolve with the halo dynamical time, and produce a pronounced FMR. Our models indicate that galaxies oscillate about equilibrium SFR and metallicity values – set by the galaxy’s stellar mass – and that SFR and metallicity offsets evolve in an anticorrelated fashion. This anticorrelated variability of the metallicity and SFR offsets drives the existence of the FMR in our models. In contrast to Illustris and IllustrisTNG, we speculate that the SFR and metallicity evolution tracks may become decoupled in galaxy formation models dominated by feedback-driven globally bursty SFR histories, which could weaken the FMR residual correlation strength. This opens the possibilitymore » of discriminating between bursty and non-bursty feedback models based on the strength and persistence of the FMR – especially at high redshift.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [2]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1];  [1];  [3];  [4];  [2];  [5];  [6];  [7]; ORCiD logo [8]
  1. Massachusetts Inst. of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA (United States). Kavli Institute for Astrophysics & Space Research
  2. Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, MA (United States)
  3. Heidelberg Inst. for Theoretical Studies, Heidelberg, (Germany); Heidelberg Univ. (Germany); Max Planck Society, Garching (Germany). Max Planck Inst. for Astrophysik
  4. Max Planck Inst. for Astronomy, Heidelberg (Germany)
  5. Heidelberg Inst. for Theoretical Studies, Heidelberg (Germany)
  6. Heidelberg Inst. for Theoretical Studies, Heidelberg, (Germany)
  7. Max Planck Society, Garching (Germany). Max Planck Inst. for Astrophysik
  8. Flatiron Inst., New York, NY (United States); Columbia Univ., New York, NY (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Krell Institute, Ames, IA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1540633
Grant/Contract Number:  
FG02-97ER25308
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 477; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 1745-3925
Publisher:
Royal Astronomical Society
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; Astronomy & Astrophysics

Citation Formats

Torrey, Paul, Vogelsberger, Mark, Hernquist, Lars, McKinnon, Ryan, Marinacci, Federico, Simcoe, Robert A., Springel, Volker, Pillepich, Annalisa, Naiman, Jill, Pakmor, Rüdiger, Weinberger, Rainer, Nelson, Dylan, and Genel, Shy. Similar star formation rate and metallicity variability time-scales drive the fundamental metallicity relation. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.1093/mnrasl/sly031.
Torrey, Paul, Vogelsberger, Mark, Hernquist, Lars, McKinnon, Ryan, Marinacci, Federico, Simcoe, Robert A., Springel, Volker, Pillepich, Annalisa, Naiman, Jill, Pakmor, Rüdiger, Weinberger, Rainer, Nelson, Dylan, & Genel, Shy. Similar star formation rate and metallicity variability time-scales drive the fundamental metallicity relation. United States. doi:10.1093/mnrasl/sly031.
Torrey, Paul, Vogelsberger, Mark, Hernquist, Lars, McKinnon, Ryan, Marinacci, Federico, Simcoe, Robert A., Springel, Volker, Pillepich, Annalisa, Naiman, Jill, Pakmor, Rüdiger, Weinberger, Rainer, Nelson, Dylan, and Genel, Shy. Sat . "Similar star formation rate and metallicity variability time-scales drive the fundamental metallicity relation". United States. doi:10.1093/mnrasl/sly031. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1540633.
@article{osti_1540633,
title = {Similar star formation rate and metallicity variability time-scales drive the fundamental metallicity relation},
author = {Torrey, Paul and Vogelsberger, Mark and Hernquist, Lars and McKinnon, Ryan and Marinacci, Federico and Simcoe, Robert A. and Springel, Volker and Pillepich, Annalisa and Naiman, Jill and Pakmor, Rüdiger and Weinberger, Rainer and Nelson, Dylan and Genel, Shy},
abstractNote = {The fundamental metallicity relation (FMR) is a postulated correlation between galaxy stellar mass, star formation rate (SFR), and gas-phase metallicity. At its core, this relation posits that offsets from the mass–metallicity relation (MZR) at a fixed stellar mass are correlated with galactic SFR. In this Letter, we use hydrodynamical simulations to quantify the time-scales over which populations of galaxies oscillate about the average SFR and metallicity values at fixed stellar mass. We find that Illustris and IllustrisTNG predict that galaxy offsets from the star formation main sequence and MZR oscillate over similar time-scales, are often anticorrelated in their evolution, evolve with the halo dynamical time, and produce a pronounced FMR. Our models indicate that galaxies oscillate about equilibrium SFR and metallicity values – set by the galaxy’s stellar mass – and that SFR and metallicity offsets evolve in an anticorrelated fashion. This anticorrelated variability of the metallicity and SFR offsets drives the existence of the FMR in our models. In contrast to Illustris and IllustrisTNG, we speculate that the SFR and metallicity evolution tracks may become decoupled in galaxy formation models dominated by feedback-driven globally bursty SFR histories, which could weaken the FMR residual correlation strength. This opens the possibility of discriminating between bursty and non-bursty feedback models based on the strength and persistence of the FMR – especially at high redshift.},
doi = {10.1093/mnrasl/sly031},
journal = {Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters},
number = 1,
volume = 477,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {3}
}

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