The Production of Cold Gas Within Galaxy Outflows

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36 Scopus citations


I present a suite of three-dimensional simulations of the evolution of initially hot material ejected by starburst-driven galaxy outflows. The simulations are conducted in a comoving frame that moves with the material, tracking atomic/ionic cooling, Compton cooling, and dust cooling and destruction. Compton cooling is the most efficient of these processes, while the main role of atomic/ionic cooling is to enhance density inhomogeneities. Dust, on the other hand, has little effect on the outflow evolution, and is rapidly destroyed in all the simulations except for the case with the smallest mass flux. I use the results to construct a simple steady-state model of the observed UV/optical emission from each outflow. The velocity profiles in this case are dominated by geometric effects, and the overall luminosities are extremely strong functions of the properties of the host system, as observed in ultra-luminous infrared galaxies (ULIRGs). Furthermore the luminosities and maximum velocities in several models are consistent with emission-line observations of ULIRGs, although the velocities are significantly greater than observed in absorption-line studies. It may be that absorption line observations of galaxy outflows probe entrained cold material at small radii, while emission-line observations probe cold material condensing from the initially hot medium at larger distances.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number28
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017


  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: starburst
  • galaxies: structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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