IQ Collaboratory. II. The Quiescent Fraction of Isolated, Low-mass Galaxies across Simulations and Observations

Claire M. Dickey, Tjitske K. Starkenburg, Marla Geha, Changhoon Hahn, Daniel Anglés-Alcázar, Ena Choi, Romeel Davé, Shy Genel, Kartheik G. Iyer, Ariyeh H. Maller, Nir Mandelker, Rachel S. Somerville, L. Y.Aaron Yung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


We compare three major large-scale hydrodynamical galaxy simulations (EAGLE, Illustris-TNG, and SIMBA) by forward modeling simulated galaxies into observational space and computing the fraction of isolated and quiescent low-mass galaxies as a function of stellar mass. Using SDSS as our observational template, we create mock surveys and synthetic spectroscopic and photometric observations of each simulation, adding realistic noise and observational limits. All three simulations show a decrease in the number of quiescent, isolated galaxies in the mass range M ∗ = 109-10 M o˙, in broad agreement with observations. However, even after accounting for observational and selection biases, none of the simulations reproduce the observed absence of quiescent field galaxies below M ∗ = 109 M o˙. We find that the low-mass quiescent populations selected via synthetic observations have consistent quenching timescales, despite an apparent variation in the late-time star formation histories. The effect of increased numerical resolution is not uniform across simulations and cannot fully mitigate the differences between the simulations and the observations. The framework presented here demonstrates a path toward more robust and accurate comparisons between theoretical simulations and galaxy survey observations, while the quenching threshold serves as a sensitive probe of feedback implementations.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number53
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2021

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