The First Galaxies: Chemical Enrichment, Mixing, And Star Formation

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2010-06

Authors

Greif, Thomas H.
Glover, Simon C. O.
Bromm, Volker
Klessen, Ralf S.

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Abstract

Using three-dimensional cosmological simulations, we study the assembly process of one of the first galaxies, with a total mass of similar to 10(8) M(circle dot), collapsing at z similar or equal to 10. Our main goal is to trace the transport of the heavy chemical elements produced and dispersed by a pair-instability supernova exploding in one of the minihalo progenitors. To this extent, we incorporate an efficient algorithm into our smoothed particle hydrodynamics code that approximately models turbulent mixing as a diffusion process. We study this mixing with and without the radiative feedback from Population III (Pop III) stars that subsequently form in neighboring minihalos. Our simulations allow us to constrain the initial conditions for second-generation star formation, within the first galaxy itself, and inside of minihalos that virialize after the supernova explosion. We find that most minihalos remain unscathed by ionizing radiation or the supernova remnant, while some are substantially photoheated and enriched to supercritical levels, likely resulting in the formation of low-mass Pop III or even Population II (Pop II) stars. At the center of the newly formed galaxy, similar to 10(5) M(circle dot) of cold, dense gas uniformly enriched to similar to 10(-3) Z(circle dot) is in a Stateof collapse, suggesting that a cluster of Pop II stars will form. The first galaxies, as may be detected by the James Webb Space Telescope, would therefore already contain stellar populations familiar from lower redshifts.

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Citation

Greif, Thomas H., Simon CO Glover, Volker Bromm, and Ralf S. Klessen. "The first galaxies: chemical enrichment, mixing, and star formation." The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 716, No. 1 (Jun., 2010): 510.