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

13 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

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part through the computational resources and staff contributions provided by the Quest high-performance computing facility at Northwestern University, which is jointly supported by the Office of the Provost, the Office for Research, and Northwestern University Information Technology. The data used in this work were, in part, hosted on facilities supported by the Scientific Computing Core at the Flatiron Institute, a division of the Simons Foundation, and the analysis was largely done using those facilities. The Isolated and Quiescent (IQ) Collaboratory thanks the Flatiron Institute for hosting the collaboratory and its meetings. The Flatiron Institute is supported by the Simons Foundation. C.M.D. is supported by a Professor's Grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (PI: Geha). N.M. acknowledges support from the Klauss Tschira Foundation through the HITS Yale Program in Astrophysics (HYPA). Funding for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey IV has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science, and the Participating Institutions. The SDSS-IV acknowledges support and resources from the Center for High Performance Computing at the University of Utah. The SDSS website is The SDSS-IV is managed by the Astrophysical Research Consortium for the Participating Institutions of the SDSS Collaboration, including the Brazilian Participation Group, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Carnegie Mellon University, the Center for Astrophysics - Harvard and Smithsonian, the Chilean Participation Group, the French Participation Group, Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, The Johns Hopkins University, the Kavli Institute for the Physics and Mathematics of the Universe (IPMU)/ University of Tokyo, the Korean Participation Group, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Leibniz Institut fur Astrophysik Potsdam (AIP), Max-Planck-Institut fur Astronomie (MPIA Heidelberg), Max-Planck-Institut fur Astrophysik (MPA Garching), Max-Planck-Institut fur Extraterrestrische Physik (MPE), the National Astronomical Observatories of China, New Mexico State University, New York University, the University of Notre Dame, Observatario Nacional/MCTI, The Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, Shanghai Astronomical Observatory, the United Kingdom Participation Group, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, the University of Arizona, the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Oxford, the University of Portsmouth, the University of Utah, the University of Virginia, the University of Washington, the University of Wisconsin, Vanderbilt University, and Yale University

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


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