MAGIICAT III. Interpreting Self-similarity of the Circumgalactic Medium with Virial Mass Using Mg II Absorption
In Churchill et al., we used halo abundance matching applied to 182 galaxies in the Mg II Absorber-Galaxy Catalog (MAGIICAT) and showed that the mean Mg II λ2796 equivalent width follows a tight inverse-square power law, Wr (2796)vprop(D/R vir)-2, with projected location relative to the galaxy virial radius and that the Mg II absorption covering fraction is effectively invariant with galaxy virial mass, M h, over the range 10.7 <= log M h/M ⊙ <= 13.9. In this work, we explore multivariate relationships between Wr (2796), virial mass, impact parameter, virial radius, and the theoretical cooling radius that further elucidate self-similarity in the cool/warm (T = 104-104.5 K) circumgalactic medium (CGM) with virial mass. We show that virial mass determines the extent and strength of the Mg II absorbing gas such that the mean Wr (2796) increases with virial mass at fixed distance while decreasing with galactocentric distance for fixed virial mass. The majority of the absorbing gas resides within D ~= 0.3 R vir, independent of both virial mass and minimum absorption threshold; inside this region, and perhaps also in the region 0.3 < D/R vir <= 1, the mean Wr (2796) is independent of virial mass. Contrary to absorber-galaxy cross-correlation studies, we show there is no anti-correlation between Wr (2796) and virial mass. We discuss how simulations and theory constrained by observations support self-similarity of the cool/warm CGM via the physics governing star formation, gas-phase metal enrichment, recycling efficiency of galactic scale winds, filament and merger accretion, and overdensity of local environment as a function of virial mass.