REVERSAL OF FORTUNE: INCREASED STAR FORMATION EFFICIENCIES IN THE EARLY HISTORIES OF DWARF GALAXIES?
On dwarf galaxy scales, the different shapes of the galaxy stellar mass function and the dark halo mass function require a star-formation efficiency (SFE) in these systems that is currently more than 1 dex lower than that of Milky Way-size halos. Here, we argue that this trend may actually be reversed at high redshift. Specifically, by combining the resolved star-formation histories of nearby isolated dwarfs with the simulated mass-growth rates of dark matter halos, we show that the assembly of these systems occurs in two phases: (1) an early, fast halo accretion phase with a rapidly deepening potential well, characterized by a high SFE; and (2) a late, slow halo accretion phase where, perhaps as a consequence of reionization, the SFE is low. Nearby dwarfs have more old stars than predicted by assuming a constant or decreasing SFE with redshift, a behavior that appears to deviate qualitatively from the trends seen among more massive systems. Taken at face value, the data suggest that at sufficiently early epochs, dwarf galaxy halos above the atomic cooling mass limit can be among the most efficient sites of star formation in the universe.
- Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 (United States)
- Publication Date:
- OSTI Identifier:
- Resource Type:
- Journal Article
- Resource Relation:
- Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 790; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
- Country of Publication:
- United States
- 79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; COMPUTERIZED SIMULATION; EFFICIENCY; GALACTIC EVOLUTION; MASS; MILKY WAY; NONLUMINOUS MATTER; POTENTIALS; RED SHIFT; STAR EVOLUTION; STARS; UNIVERSE