An EAGLE’s View of Ex-situ Galaxy Growth

Davison, Thomas, Norris, Mark orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7001-805X, Pfeffer, Joel L, Davies, Jonathan J and Crain, Robert A (2020) An EAGLE’s View of Ex-situ Galaxy Growth. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 497 (1). pp. 81-93. ISSN 0035-8711

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Modern observational and analytic techniques now enable the direct measurement of star formation histories and the inference of galaxy assembly histories. However, current theoretical predictions of assembly are not ideally suited for direct comparison with such observational data. We therefore extend the work of prior examinations of the contribution of ex-situ stars to the stellar mass budget of simulated galaxies. Our predictions are specifically tailored for direct testing with a new generation of observational techniques by calculating ex-situ fractions as functions of galaxy mass and morphological type, for a range of surface brightnesses. These enable comparison with results from large FoV IFU spectrographs, and increasingly accurate spectral fitting, providing a look-up method for the estimated accreted fraction. We furthermore provide predictions of ex-situ mass fractions as functions of galaxy mass, galactocentric radius and environment. Using z = 0 snapshots from the 100cMpc3 and 25cMpc3 EAGLE simulations we corroborate the findings of prior studies, finding that ex-situ fraction increases with stellar mass for central and satellite galaxies in a stellar mass range of 2× 107 - 1.9× 1012 M⊙. For those galaxies of mass M*>5× 108M⊙, we find that the total ex-situ mass fraction is greater for more extended galaxies at fixed mass. When categorising satellite galaxies by their parent group/cluster halo mass we find that the ex-situ fraction decreases with increasing parent halo mass at fixed galaxy mass. This apparently counter-intuitive result may be due to high passing velocities within large cluster halos inhibiting efficient accretion onto individual galaxies.

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