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Cosmic distribution of highly ionized metals and their physical conditions in the EAGLE simulations
Rahmati, Alireza; Schaye, Joop; Crain, Robert A.; Oppenheimer, Benjamin D.; Schaller, Matthieu; Theuns, Tom
AA(Institute for Computational Science, University of Zürich, Winterthurerstrasse 190, CH-8057 Zürich, Switzerland; ), AB(Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513, NL-2300 RA, Leiden, the Netherlands), AC(Astrophysics Research Institute, Liverpool John Moores University, 146 Brownlow Hill, Liverpool L3 5RF, UK), AD(University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA), AE(Institute for Computational Cosmology, Department of Physics, University of Durham, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK), AF(Institute for Computational Cosmology, Department of Physics, University of Durham, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK)
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 459, Issue 1, p.310-332 (MNRAS Homepage)
Publication Date:
Astronomy Keywords:
methods: numerical, galaxies: formation, galaxies: high-redshift, intergalactic medium, quasars: absorption lines
Abstract Copyright:
2016 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society
Bibliographic Code:


We study the distribution and evolution of highly ionized intergalactic metals in the Evolution and Assembly of Galaxies and their Environment (EAGLE) cosmological, hydrodynamical simulations. EAGLE has been shown to reproduce a wide range of galaxy properties while its subgrid feedback was calibrated without considering gas properties. We compare the predictions for the column density distribution functions (CDDFs) and cosmic densities of Si IV, C IV, N V, O VI and Ne VIII absorbers with observations at redshift z = 0 to ˜6 and find reasonable agreement, although there are some differences. We show that the typical physical densities of the absorbing gas increase with column density and redshift, but decrease with the ionization energy of the absorbing ion. The typical metallicity increases with both column density and time. The fraction of collisionally ionized metal absorbers increases with time and ionization energy. While our results show little sensitivity to the presence or absence of AGN feedback, increasing/decreasing the efficiency of stellar feedback by a factor of 2 substantially decreases/increases the CDDFs and the cosmic densities of the metal ions. We show that the impact of the efficiency of stellar feedback on the CDDFs and cosmic densities is largely due to its effect on the metal production rate. However, the temperatures of the metal absorbers, particularly those of strong O VI, are directly sensitive to the strength of the feedback.
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