Probing Hot Gas Components of the Circumgalactic Medium in Cosmological Simulations with the Thermal Sunyaev-Zel'dovich Effect
The thermal Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (tSZ) effect is a powerful tool with the potential for constraining directly the properties of the hot gas that dominates dark matter halos because it measures pressure and thus thermal energy density. Studying this hot component of the circumgalactic medium (CGM) is important because it is strongly impacted by star formation and active galactic nucleus (AGN) activity in galaxies, participating in the feedback loop that regulates star and black hole mass growth in galaxies. We study the tSZ effect across a wide halo-mass range using three cosmological hydrodynamical simulations: Illustris-TNG, EAGLE, and FIRE-2. Specifically, we present the scaling relation between the tSZ signal and halo mass and the (mass-weighted) radial profiles of gas density, temperature, and pressure for all three simulations. The analysis includes comparisons to Planck tSZ observations and to the thermal pressure profile inferred from the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) measurements. We compare these tSZ data to simulations to interpret the measurements in terms of feedback and accretion processes in the CGM. We also identify as-yet unobserved potential signatures of these processes that may be visible in future measurements, which will have the capability of measuring tSZ signals to even lower masses. We also perform internal comparisons between runs with different physical assumptions. We conclude (1) there is strong evidence for the impact of feedback at R 500, but that this impact decreases by 5R 500, and (2) the thermodynamic profiles of the CGM are highly dependent on the implemented model, such as cosmic-ray or AGN feedback prescriptions.
The Astrophysical Journal
- Pub Date:
- February 2022
- Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies;
- Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics
- 21 pages, 10 figures, submitted to ApJ, comments welcome