Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

The nature of sub-millimeter and highly star-forming galaxies in the eagle simulation

McAlpine, Stuart; Smail, Ian; Bower, Richard G; Swinbank, AM; Trayford, James W; Theuns, Tom; Baes, Maarten; Camps, Peter; Crain, Robert A; Schaye, Joop

The nature of sub-millimeter and highly star-forming galaxies in the eagle simulation Thumbnail


Stuart McAlpine

Richard G Bower

James W Trayford

Maarten Baes

Peter Camps

Robert A Crain

Joop Schaye


We exploit eagle, a cosmological hydrodynamical simulation, to reproduce the selection of the observed sub-millimeter (submm) galaxy population by selecting the model galaxies at z ≥ 1 with mock submm fluxes S850µm ≥ 1 mJy. We find a reasonable agreement between the model galaxies within this sample and the properties of the observed submm population, such as their star-formation rates (SFRs) at z < 3, redshift distribution and many integrated galaxy properties. We find that the median redshift of the S850µm ≥ 1 mJy model population is z ≈ 2.5, and that they are massive galaxies (M∗ ∼ 1011 M) with high dust masses (Mdust ∼ 108 M), gas fractions (fgas ≈ 50%) and SFRs (M˙ ∗ ≈ 100 M yr−1 ). In addition, we find that they have major and minor merger fractions similar to the general population, suggesting that mergers are not the sole driver of the high SFRs in the model submm galaxies. Instead, the S850µm ≥ 1 mJy model galaxies yield high SFRs primarily because they maintain a significant gas reservoir as a result of hosting an undermassive black hole relative to comparably massive galaxies. Not all ‘highly star-forming’ (M˙ ∗ ≥ 80 M yr−1 ) eagle galaxies have submm fluxes S850µm ≥ 1 mJy. We investigate the nature of these highly star-forming ‘Submm-Faint’ galaxies (i.e., M˙ ∗ ≥ 80 M yr−1 but S850µm < 1 mJy) and find that they are similar to the model submm galaxies; being gas rich and hosting undermassive black holes. However, they are also typically at higher redshifts (z > 4) and are lower mass (M∗ ∼ 1010 M). These typically higherredshift galaxies show stronger evidence for having been triggered by major mergers, and critically, they are likely missed by most current submm surveys due to their higher dust temperatures and lower dust masses.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jun 7, 2019
Online Publication Date Jun 20, 2019
Publication Date Sep 30, 2019
Deposit Date Jun 25, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jun 25, 2019
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Electronic ISSN 1365-2966
Publisher Royal Astronomical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 488
Issue 2
Pages 2440-2454
Public URL


Accepted Journal Article (1.8 Mb)

Copyright Statement
This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. ©: 2019 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

You might also like

Downloadable Citations