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How well is angular momentum accretion modelled in semi-analytic galaxy formation models?

Hou, Jun and Lacey, Cedric G and Frenk, Carlos S (2021) 'How well is angular momentum accretion modelled in semi-analytic galaxy formation models?', Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 507 (3). pp. 4241-4261.


Gas cooling and accretion in haloes delivers mass and angular momentum on to galaxies. In this work, we investigate the accuracy of the modelling of this important process in several different semi-analytic (SA) galaxy formation models (GALFORM, L-GALAXIES, and MORGANA) through comparisons with a hydrodynamical simulation performed with the moving-mesh code AREPO. Both SA models and the simulation were run without any feedback or metal enrichment, in order to focus on the cooling and accretion process. All of the SA models considered here assume that gas cools from a spherical halo. We found that the assumption that the gas conserves its angular momentum when moving from the virial radius, rvir, to the central region of the halo, r ∼ 0.1rvir, is approximately consistent with the results from our simulation. We also found that, compared to the simulation, the MORGANA model tends to overestimate the mean specific angular momentum of cooled-down gas, the L-GALAXIES model also tends to overestimate this in low-redshift massive haloes, while the two older GALFORM models tend to underestimate the angular momentum. In general, the predictions of the new GALFORM cooling model developed by Hou et al. agree the best with the simulation.

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Publisher statement:This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. ©: 2021 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Date accepted:24 August 2021
Date deposited:15 November 2021
Date of first online publication:28 August 2021
Date first made open access:15 November 2021

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