Supermassive black hole binaries and the formation of massive early-type galaxies in cosmological simulations

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Title: Supermassive black hole binaries and the formation of massive early-type galaxies in cosmological simulations
Author: Keitaanranta, Atte
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Matemaattis-luonnontieteellinen tiedekunta
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science
Helsingfors universitet, Matematisk-naturvetenskapliga fakulteten
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2022
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Degree program: Alkeishiukkasfysiikan ja astrofysikaalisten tieteiden maisteriohjelma (Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences)
Master's Programme in Particle Physics and Astrophysical Sciences
Magisterprogrammet i elementarpartikelfysik och astrofysikaliska vetenskaper
Specialisation: Astrofysikaaliset tieteet
Astrophysical Sciences
De astrofysikaliska vetenskaperna
Abstract: Results from cosmological zoom-in simulations focusing on the formation and evolution of massive early-type galaxies starting from redshift z=50 until the present time are presented in this thesis. In addition, the dynamics of supermassive black hole (SMBH) binaries found in a subset of the galaxies as a result of galaxy mergers are studied. The first 12 zoom-in simulations were run with GADGET-3, an N-body hydrodynamical tree code on the Puhti supercomputer at the Finnish IT Centre for Science (CSC). The zoom-in regions were chosen from a low resolution large-volume simulation, run with the University of Helsinki computing cluster Kale. The SMBH binary dynamics were simulated with the regularized integrator code KETJU. In total three simulations using KETJU were run on the CSC supercomputer Mahti. The GADGET-3 simulations included both dark matter only runs and runs containing also baryons. The simulations were run at two different resolutions. No significant differences between the two resolutions were found for the dark matter only runs, whereas the runs including a baryonic component showed large differences. The medium resolution runs had too low particle numbers and too large particle masses to correctly resolve star formation and feedback, leading to rotation curves that missed their central peaks. The results from the high resolution simulations agreed with earlier published results. The rotation curves peak in the central regions of the galaxies with the curves becoming almost constant at large radii. The star formation rates peak in the redshift range z~2-3 and at smaller redshifts star formation can momentarily increase due to the occuring of galaxy mergers. At the present day, all of the studied galaxies include mainly old stellar populations, resulting in red colours for all the galaxies. Still, the galaxy formation efficiency parameter of each galaxy is somewhat higher than what is seen in the observations. Finally, all three SMBH binaries for which the dynamics were studied using KETJU led to a coalescence of the two black holes. The orbital decay of SMBH binaries occur in three phases: dynamical friction, three-body interactions and gravitational wave emission. The merger times strongly depend on the eccentricity of the binaries with the semimajor axis of the binary with the highest eccentricity decreasing the fastest. This is expected from theory, with the evolution from subparsec scales to coalescence agreeing very well with the theoretical evolution taking into account the post-Newtonian correction term 2.5PN, which is the lowest order post-Newtonian term responsible for gravitational wave emission.
Subject: galaxy formation
galaxy evolution
black hole binaries
black hole mergers

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