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Cosmic distribution of highly ionized metals and their physical conditions in the EAGLE simulations.

Rahmati, A. and Schaye, J. and Crain, R. A. and Oppenheimer, B. D. and Schaller, M. and Theuns, T. (2016) 'Cosmic distribution of highly ionized metals and their physical conditions in the EAGLE simulations.', Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society., 459 (1). pp. 310-332.


We study the distribution and evolution of highly ionised 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 SiIV, CIV, NV, OVI and NeVIII 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 two 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 OVI, are directly sensitive to the strength of the feedback.

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Publisher statement:This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2016 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Date accepted:23 February 2016
Date deposited:07 April 2016
Date of first online publication:26 February 2016
Date first made open access:No date available

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