Radiation-hydrodynamics simulations of dwarf galaxies with Shadowfax+CMacIonize

01 January 2019 → Ongoing
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Astronomy and space sciences
Project description

Dwarf galaxies are ideal probes of the physical processes that drive galaxy evolution because their
low masses make them extremely vulnerable to the effects of these processes. While this is
obviously a good point, it also implies that numerical simulations of dwarf galaxies need to describe
these physical processes as realistically as possible. For this FWO project, we plan to extend the
capabilities of Shadowfax+CMacIonize, a novel radiation hydrodynamics simulation code and to use
it for very realistic, high-resolution 3D simulations of dwarfs that, after having evolved in isolation
for billions of years, are having their interstellar gas stripped away by ram pressure while falling
supersonically into the Milky Way halo. We will make robust predictions for the observable
properties of the Milky Way satellites and compare these with the observations as a crucial test of
our understanding of (dwarf) galaxy evolution. Secondly, these simulations will serve to provide a
robust estimate of the UV photon escape fraction (a crucial ingredient of computations of the
cosmic UV background that reionized the early universe), its dependence on galaxy mass, time, starformation
rate, ISM substructure, ... and its cosmic variance. Our results will advance the fields of
galaxy evolution and cosmology. Since our radiation hydrodynamics code is publicly available, the
project will also benefit other research communities.