Astrophysicist

Category: numerical methods and code

Weinberger, Springel, Pakmor (2020)

The Arepo public code release

by
Weinberger, Rainer; Springel, Volker and Pakmor, Rüdiger

abstract
We introduce the public version of the cosmological magnetohydrodynamical moving-mesh simulation code Arepo. This version contains a finite-volume magnetohydrodynamics algorithm on an unstructured, dynamic Voronoi tessellation coupled to a tree-particle-mesh algorithm for the Poisson equation either on a Newtonian or cosmologically expanding spacetime. Time-integration is performed adopting local timestep constraints for each cell individually, solving the fluxes only across active interfaces, and calculating gravitational forces only between active particles, using an operator-splitting approach. This allows simulations with high dynamic range to be performed efficiently. Arepo is a massively distributed-memory parallel code, using the Message Passing Interface (MPI) communication standard and employing a dynamical work-load and memory balancing scheme to allow optimal use of multi-node parallel computers. The employed parallelization algorithms of Arepo are deterministic and produce binary-identical results when re-run on the same machine and with the same number of MPI ranks. A simple primordial cooling and star formation model is included as an example of sub-resolution models commonly used in simulations of galaxy formation. Arepo also contains a suite of computationally inexpensive test problems, ranging from idealized tests for automated code verification to scaled-down versions of cosmological galaxy formation simulations, and is extensively documented in order to assist adoption of the code by new scientific users.

published in
 The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series, Volume 248, Issue 2, id.32, June 2020

links to paper
[ADS][arXiv][website][repository]

Genel et al. (2019)

A Quantification of the Butterfly Effect in Cosmological Simulations and Implications for Galaxy Scaling Relations

by
Genel, Shy; Bryan, Greg L.; Springel, Volker; Hernquist, Lars; Nelson, Dylan; Pillepich, Annalisa; Weinberger, Rainer; Pakmor, Rüdiger; Marinacci, Federico; Vogelsberger, Mark

abstract
We study the chaotic-like behavior of cosmological simulations by quantifying how minute perturbations grow over time and manifest as macroscopic differences in galaxy properties. When we run pairs of “shadow” simulations that are identical except for random minute initial displacements to particle positions (e.g., of order {10}-7 {pc}), the results diverge from each other at the individual galaxy level (while the statistical properties of the ensemble of galaxies are unchanged). After cosmological times, the global properties of pairs of “shadow” galaxies that are matched between the simulations differ from each other, generally at a level of ̃2-25%, depending on the considered physical quantity. We perform these experiments using cosmological volumes of {(25{–}50{Mpc}/h)}3evolved either purely with dark matter, or with baryons and star formation but no feedback, or else using the full feedback model of the IllustrisTNG project. The runs cover four resolution levels spanning a factor of 512 in mass. We find that, without feedback, the differences between shadow galaxies generally become smaller as the resolution increases—but with the IllustrisTNG model, the results mostly converge toward a “floor.” This hints at the role of feedback in setting the chaotic properties of galaxy formation. Importantly, we compare the macroscopic differences between shadow galaxies to the overall scatter in various galaxy scaling relations, and conclude that, for the star formation-mass and the Tully-Fisher relations, the butterfly effect in our simulations contributes significantly to the overall scatter. We find that our results are robust to whether random numbers are used in the subgrid models or not. We discuss the implications for galaxy formation theory in general and for cosmological simulations in particular.

 published in
The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 871, Issue 1, article id. 21, 27 pp. (January 2019)

links to paper
[ADS][arXiv]

Pillepich et al. (2018)

Simulating galaxy formation with the IllustrisTNG model

by
Pillepich, Annalisa; Springel, Volker; Nelson, Dylan; Genel, Shy; Naiman, Jill; Pakmor, Rüdiger; Hernquist, Lars; Torrey, Paul; Vogelsberger, Mark; Weinberger, Rainer; Marinacci, Federico

abstract
We introduce an updated physical model to simulate the formation and evolution of galaxies in cosmological, large-scale gravity+magnetohydrodynamical simulations with the moving mesh code AREPO. The overall framework builds upon the successes of the Illustris galaxy formation model, and includes prescriptions for star formation, stellar evolution, chemical enrichment, primordial and metal-line cooling of the gas, stellar feedback with galactic outflows, and black hole formation, growth and multimode feedback. In this paper, we give a comprehensive description of the physical and numerical advances that form the core of the IllustrisTNG (The Next Generation) framework. We focus on the revised implementation of the galactic winds, of which we modify the directionality, velocity, thermal content and energy scalings, and explore its effects on the galaxy population. As described in earlier works, the model also includes a new black-hole-driven kinetic feedback at low accretion rates, magnetohydrodynamics and improvements to the numerical scheme. Using a suite of (25 Mpc h-1)3 cosmological boxes, we assess the outcome of the new model at our fiducial resolution. The presence of a self-consistently amplified magnetic field is shown to have an important impact on the stellar content of 1012 M haloes and above. Finally, we demonstrate that the new galactic winds promise to solve key problems identified in Illustris in matching observational constraints and affecting the stellar content and sizes of the low-mass end of the galaxy population.

published in
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 473, Issue 3, p.4077-4106, January 2018

links to paper
[ADS][arXiv]

Weinberger et al. (2017)

Simulating the interaction of jets with the intracluster medium

by
Weinberger, Rainer; Ehlert, Kristian; Pfrommer, Christoph; Pakmor, Rüdiger; Springel, Volker

abstract
Jets from supermassive black holes in the centres of galaxy clusters are a potential candidate for moderating gas cooling and subsequent star formation through depositing energy in the intracluster gas. In this work, we simulate the jet-intracluster medium interaction using the moving-mesh magnetohydrodynamics code arepo. Our model injects supersonic, low-density, collimated and magnetized outflows in cluster centres, which are then stopped by the surrounding gas, thermalize and inflate low-density cavities filled with cosmic rays. We perform high-resolution, non-radiative simulations of the lobe creation, expansion and disruption, and find that its dynamical evolution is in qualitative agreement with simulations of idealized low-density cavities that are dominated by a large-scale Rayleigh-Taylor instability. The buoyant rising of the lobe does not create energetically significant small-scale chaotic motion in a volume-filling fashion, but rather a systematic upward motion in the wake of the lobe and a corresponding back-flow antiparallel to it. We find that, overall, 50 per cent of the injected energy ends up in material that is not part of the lobe, and about 25 per cent remains in the inner 100 kpc. We conclude that jet-inflated, buoyantly rising cavities drive systematic gas motions that play an important role in heating the central regions, while mixing of lobe material is subdominant. Encouragingly, the main mechanisms responsible for this energy deposition can be modelled already at resolutions within reach in future, high-resolution cosmological simulations of galaxy clusters.

published in
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 470, Issue 4, p.4530-4546, October 2017

links to paper
[ADS][arXiv]

Kannan et al. (2017)

Increasing Black Hole Feedback-induced Quenching with Anisotropic Thermal Conduction

by
Kannan, Rahul; Vogelsberger, Mark; Pfrommer, Christoph; Weinberger, Rainer; Springel, Volker; Hernquist, Lars; Puchwein, Ewald; Pakmor, Rüdiger

abstract
Feedback from central supermassive black holes is often invoked to explain the low star formation rates (SFRs) in the massive galaxies at the centers of galaxy clusters. However, the detailed physics of the coupling of the injected feedback energy with the intracluster medium (ICM) is still unclear. Using high-resolution magnetohydrodynamic cosmological simulations of galaxy cluster formation, we investigate the role of anisotropic thermal conduction in shaping the thermodynamic structure of clusters, and in particular, in modifying the impact of black hole feedback. Stratified anisotropically conducting plasmas are formally always unstable, and thus more prone to mixing, an expectation borne out by our results. The increased mixing efficiently isotropizes the injected feedback energy, which in turn significantly improves the coupling between the feedback energy and the ICM. This facilitates an earlier disruption of the cool-core, reduces the SFR by more than an order of magnitude, and results in earlier quenching despite an overall lower amount of feedback energy injected into the cluster core. With conduction, the metallicity gradients and dispersions are lowered, aligning them better with observational constraints. These results highlight the important role of thermal conduction in establishing and maintaining the quiescence of massive galaxies.

published in
The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Volume 837, Issue 2, article id. L18, 6 pp. (March 2017)

links to paper
[ADS][arXiv]

Weinberger et al. (2017)

Simulating galaxy formation with black hole driven thermal and kinetic feedback

by
Weinberger, Rainer; Springel, Volker; Hernquist, Lars; Pillepich, Annalisa; Marinacci, Federico; Pakmor, Rüdiger; Nelson, Dylan; Genel, Shy; Vogelsberger, Mark; Naiman, Jill; Torrey, Paul

abstract
The inefficiency of star formation in massive elliptical galaxies is widely believed to be caused by the interactions of an active galactic nucleus (AGN) with the surrounding gas. Achieving a sufficiently rapid reddening of moderately massive galaxies without expelling too many baryons has however proven difficult for hydrodynamical simulations of galaxy formation, prompting us to explore a new model for the accretion and feedback effects of supermassive black holes. For high-accretion rates relative to the Eddington limit, we assume that a fraction of the accreted rest mass energy heats the surrounding gas thermally, similar to the ‘quasar mode’ in previous work. For low-accretion rates, we invoke a new, pure kinetic feedback model that imparts momentum to the surrounding gas in a stochastic manner. These two modes of feedback are motivated both by theoretical conjectures for the existence of different types of accretion flows as well as recent observational evidence for the importance of kinetic AGN winds in quenching galaxies. We find that a large fraction of the injected kinetic energy in this mode thermalizes via shocks in the surrounding gas, thereby providing a distributed heating channel. In cosmological simulations, the resulting model produces red, non-star-forming massive elliptical galaxies, and achieves realistic gas fractions, black hole growth histories and thermodynamic profiles in large haloes.

published in
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 465, Issue 3, p.3291-3308, March 2017

links to paper
[ADS][arXiv]

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