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The effect of magnetic fields on properties of the circumgalactic medium

van de Voort, Freeke, Bieri, Rebekka, Pakmor, Rüdiger, Gómez, Facundo A., Grand, Robert J. J. and Marinacci, Federico 2021. The effect of magnetic fields on properties of the circumgalactic medium. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 501 (4) , pp. 4888-4902. 10.1093/mnras/staa3938

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We study the effect of magnetic fields on a simulated galaxy and its surrounding gaseous halo, or circumgalactic medium (CGM), within cosmological ‘zoom-in’ simulations of a Milky Way-mass galaxy as part of the Simulating the Universe with Refined Galaxy Environments (SURGE) project. We use three different galaxy formation models, each with and without magnetic fields, and include additional spatial refinement in the CGM to improve its resolution. The central galaxy’s star formation rate and stellar mass are not strongly affected by the presence of magnetic fields, but the galaxy is more disc dominated and its central black hole is more massive when B > 0. The physical properties of the CGM change significantly. With magnetic fields, the circumgalactic gas flows are slower, the atomic hydrogen-dominated extended discs around the galaxy are more massive and the densities in the inner CGM are therefore higher, the temperatures in the outer CGM are higher, and the pressure in the halo is higher and smoother. The total gas fraction and metal mass fraction in the halo are also higher when magnetic fields are included, because less gas escapes the halo. Additionally, we find that the CGM properties depend on azimuthal angle and that magnetic fields reduce the scatter in radial velocity, whilst enhancing the scatter in metallicity at fixed azimuthal angle. The metals are thus less well-mixed throughout the halo, resulting in more metal-poor halo gas. These results together show that magnetic fields in the CGM change the flow of gas in galaxy haloes, making it more difficult for metal-rich outflows to mix with the metal-poor CGM and to escape the halo, and therefore should be included in simulations of galaxy formation.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0035-8711
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 5 January 2021
Date of Acceptance: 18 December 2020
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2021 15:59

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