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Oscar Agertz. Profile photo.

Oscar Agertz

Associate Professor / Senior university lecturer / Wallenberg Academy Fellow

Oscar Agertz. Profile photo.

Toward a complete accounting of energy and momentum from stellar feedback in galaxy formation simulations


  • Oscar Agertz
  • Andrey V. Kravtsov
  • Samuel N. Leitner
  • Nickolay Y. Gnedin

Summary, in English

We investigate the momentum and energy budget of stellar feedback during different stages of stellar evolution, and study its impact on the interstellar medium (ISM) using simulations of local star-forming regions and galactic disks at the resolution affordable in modern cosmological zoom-in simulations. In particular, we present a novel subgrid model for the momentum injection due to radiation pressure and stellar winds from massive stars during early, pre-supernova (pre-SN) evolutionary stages of young star clusters. Early injection of momentum acts to clear out dense gas in star-forming regions, hence limiting star formation. The reduced gas density mitigates radiative losses of thermal feedback energy from subsequent SN explosions. The detailed impact of stellar feedback depends sensitively on the implementation and choice of parameters. Somewhat encouragingly, we find that implementations in which feedback is efficient lead to approximate self-regulation of the global star formation efficiency. We compare simulation results using our feedback implementation to other phenomenological feedback methods, where thermal feedback energy is allowed to dissipate over timescales longer than the formal gas cooling time. We find that simulations with maximal momentum injection suppress star formation to a similar degree as is found in simulations adopting adiabatic thermal feedback. However, different feedback schemes are found to produce significant differences in the density and thermodynamic structure of the ISM, and are hence expected to have a qualitatively different impact on galaxy evolution.

Publishing year





Astrophysical Journal





Document type

Journal article


American Astronomical Society


  • Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology


  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: ISM
  • ISM: structure
  • methods: numerical
  • stars: formation




  • ISSN: 0004-637X