Physics and Astronomy Publications


Cosmic Pathways for Compact Groups in the Milli-Millennium Simulation

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Astrophysical Journal





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We detected 10 compact galaxy groups (CGs) at z = 0 in the semianalytic galaxy catalog of Guo et al. for the milli-Millennium Cosmological Simulation (sCGs in mGuo2010a). We aimed to identify potential canonical pathways for compact group evolution and thus illuminate the history of observed nearby CGs. By constructing merger trees for z = 0 sCG galaxies, we studied the cosmological evolution of key properties and compared them with z = 0 Hickson CGs (HCGs). We found that, once sCG galaxies come within 1 (0.5) Mpc of their most massive galaxy, they remain within that distance until z = 0, suggesting sCG "birth redshifts." At z = 0 stellar masses of sCG most massive galaxies are within 10 10 ≲ M ∗ /M o ∼ 10 11 . In several cases, especially in the two four- and five-member systems, the amount of cold gas mass anticorrelates with stellar mass, which in turn correlates with hot gas mass. We define the angular difference between group members' 3D velocity vectors, Δθ vel , and note that many of the groups are long-lived because their small values of Δθ vel indicate a significant parallel component. For triplets in particular, Δθ vel values range between 20° and 40° so that galaxies are coming together along roughly parallel paths, and pairwise separations do not show large pronounced changes after close encounters. The best agreement between sCG and HCG physical properties is for M ∗ galaxy values, but HCG values are higher overall, including for star formation rates (SFRs). Unlike HCGs, due to a tail at low SFR and M ∗ and a lack of M ∗ 10 11 M o galaxies, only a few sCG galaxies are on the star-forming main sequence.

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