Clustered supernovae drive powerful galactic winds after superbubble breakout

Published in MNRAS, 2018

Recommended citation: Fielding, D., Quataert, E., and Martizzi, D. (2018). "Clustered supernovae drive powerful galactic winds after superbubble breakout." MNRAS. 481(3):3325–3347. Dec 2018. pdf version available here

We use three-dimensional hydrodynamic simulations of vertically stratified patches of galactic discs to study how the spatio-temporal clustering of supernovae (SNe) enhances the power of galactic winds. SNe that are randomly distributed throughout a galactic disc drive inefficient galactic winds because most supernova remnants lose their energy radiatively before breaking out of the disc. Accounting for the fact that most star formation is clustered alleviates this problem. Super-bubbles driven by the combined effects of clustered SNe propagate rapidly enough to break out of galactic discs well before the clusters’ SNe stop going off. The radiative losses postbreakout are reduced dramatically and a large fraction (& 0.2) of the energy released by SNe vents into the halo powering a strong galactic wind. These energetic winds are capable of providing strong preventative feedback and eject substantial mass from the galaxy with outflow rates on the order of the star formation rate. The momentum flux in the wind is only of order that injected by the SNe, because the hot gas vents before doing significant work on the surroundings. We show that our conclusions hold for a range of galaxy properties, both in the local Universe (e.g., M82) and at high redshift (e.g., z ∼ 2 star forming galaxies). We further show that if the efficiency of forming star clusters increases with increasing gas surface density, as suggested by theoretical arguments, the condition for star cluster-driven super-bubbles to break out of galactic discs corresponds to a threshold star formation rate surface density for the onset of galactic winds ∼ 0.03 M yr−1 kpc−2 , of order that observed.

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Drummond Fielding, Eliot Quataert, and Davide Martizzi. Clustered supernovae drive powerful galactic winds after superbubble breakout. MNRAS, 481(3):3325–3347, Dec 2018