Simultaneous ram pressure and tidal stripping; how dwarf spheroidals lost their gas

Mayer, Lucio ; Mastropietro, Chiara ; Wadsley, James ; Stadel, Joachim ; Moore, Ben

In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2006, vol. 369, no. 3, p. 1021-1038

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    We perform high-resolution N-body+SPH (smoothed particle hydrodynamics) simulations of gas-rich dwarf galaxy satellites orbiting within a Milky Way-sized halo and study for the first time the combined effects of tides and ram pressure. The structure of the galaxy models and the orbital configurations are chosen in accordance with those expected in a Lambda cold dark matter (ΛCDM) universe. While tidal stirring of disky dwarfs produces objects whose stellar structure and kinematics resembles that of dwarf spheroidals after a few orbits, ram pressure stripping is needed to entirely remove their gas component. Gravitational tides can aid ram pressure stripping by diminishing the overall potential of the dwarf, but tides also induce bar formation which funnels gas inwards making subsequent stripping more difficult. This inflow is particularly effective when the gas can cool radiatively. Assuming a low density of the hot Galactic corona consistent with observational constraints, dwarfs with Vpeak < 30 km s−1 can be completely stripped of their gas content on orbits with pericenters of 50 kpc or less. Instead, dwarfs with more massive dark haloes and Vpeak > 30 km s−1 lose most or all of their gas content only if a heating source keeps the gas extended, partially counteracting the bar-driven inflow. We show that the ionizing radiation from the cosmic ultraviolet (UV) background at z > 2 can provide the required heating. In these objects, most of the gas is removed or becomes ionized at the first pericenter passage, explaining the early truncation of the star formation observed in Draco and Ursa Minor. Galaxies on orbits with larger pericenters and/or falling into the Milky Way halo at lower redshift can retain significant amounts of the centrally concentrated gas. These dwarfs would continue to form stars over a longer period of time, especially close to pericenter passages, as observed in Fornax and other dwarf spheroidal galaxies (dSphs) of the Local Group. The stripped gas breaks up into individual clouds pressure confined by the outer gaseous medium that have masses, sizes and densities comparable to the H-i clouds recently discovered around M31