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Particle tagging and its implications for stellar population dynamics.

Le Bret, T. and Pontzen, A. and Cooper, A. P. and Frenk, C. and Zolotov, A. and Brooks, A. M. and Governato, F. and Parry, O. H. (2017) 'Particle tagging and its implications for stellar population dynamics.', Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society., 468 (3). pp. 3212-3222.


We establish a controlled comparison between the properties of galactic stellar haloes obtained with hydrodynamical simulations and with ‘particle tagging’. Tagging is a fast way to obtain stellar population dynamics: instead of tracking gas and star formation, it ‘paints’ stars directly on to a suitably defined subset of dark matter particles in a collisionless, dark-matter-only simulation. Our study shows that ‘live’ particle tagging schemes, where stellar masses are painted on to the dark matter particles dynamically throughout the simulation, can generate good fits to the hydrodynamical stellar density profiles of a central Milky Way-like galaxy and its most prominent substructure. Energy diffusion processes are crucial to reshaping the distribution of stars in infalling spheroidal systems and hence the final stellar halo. We conclude that the success of any particular tagging scheme hinges on this diffusion being taken into account, and discuss the role of different subgrid feedback prescriptions in driving this diffusion.

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Publisher statement:This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2017 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.
Date accepted:01 March 2017
Date deposited:18 July 2017
Date of first online publication:08 March 2017
Date first made open access:18 July 2017

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