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Radiative transfer calculations of the diffuse ionized gas in disc galaxies with cosmic ray feedback
Vandenbroucke, Bert; Wood, Kenneth; Girichidis, Philipp; Hill, Alex S.; Peters, Thomas
AA(SUPA, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of St Andrews, North Haugh, St Andrews KY16 9SS, UK 0000-0001-7241-1704), AB(SUPA, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of St Andrews, North Haugh, St Andrews KY16 9SS, UK), AC(Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP), An der Sternwarte 16, D-14482 Potsdam, Germany), AD(Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia V6T 1Z1, Canada; Space Science Institute, Boulder, CO, USA; National Research Council Canada, Herzberg Program in Astronomy and Astrophysics, Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory, PO Box 248, Penticton, British Columbia V2A 6J9, Canada 0000-0001-7301-5666), AE(Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 1, D-85748 Garching, Germany)
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 476, Issue 3, p.4032-4044 (MNRAS Homepage)
Publication Date:
Astronomy Keywords:
radiative transfer, methods: numerical, cosmic rays, galaxies: ISM, galaxies: structure
Abstract Copyright:
2018 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society
Bibliographic Code:


The large vertical scale heights of the diffuse ionized gas (DIG) in disc galaxies are challenging to model, as hydrodynamical models including only thermal feedback seem to be unable to support gas at these heights. In this paper, we use a three-dimensional Monte Carlo radiation transfer code to post-process disc simulations of the Simulating the Life-Cycle of Molecular Clouds project that include feedback by cosmic rays. We show that the more extended discs in simulations including cosmic ray feedback naturally lead to larger scale heights for the DIG which are more in line with observed scale heights. We also show that including a fiducial cosmic ray heating term in our model can help to increase the temperature as a function of disc scale height, but fails to reproduce observed DIG nitrogen and sulphur forbidden line intensities. We show that, to reproduce these line emissions, we require a heating mechanism that affects gas over a larger density range than is achieved by cosmic ray heating, which can be achieved by fine tuning the total luminosity of ionizing sources to get an appropriate ionizing spectrum as a function of scale height. This result sheds a new light on the relation between forbidden line emissions and temperature profiles for realistic DIG gas distributions.
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