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Dr Matthew Orkney


Postgraduate Research Student
Mphys in Astrophysics
Maximum of 10am - 6pm

Academic and research departments

Astrophysics Research Group.

My research project

My publications

Publications

Oscar Agertz, Andrew Pontzen, Justin Read, Martin P Rey, Matthew Orkney, Joakim Rosdahl, Romain Teyssier, Robbert Verbeke, Michael Kretschmer, Sarah Nickerson (2020)EDGE: the mass–metallicity relation as a critical test of galaxy formation physics, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society491(2)pp. 1656-1672 Oxford University Press

We introduce the 'Engineering Dwarfs at Galaxy Formation's Edge' (EDGE) project to study the cosmological formation and evolution of the smallest galaxies in the Universe. In this first paper, we explore the effects of resolution and sub-grid physics on a single low-mass halo (M_halo=109{ M}_☉), simulated to redshift z = 0 at a mass and spatial resolution of ̃ 20{ M}_☉ and ∼3 pc. We consider different star formation prescriptions, supernova feedback strengths, and on-the-fly radiative transfer (RT). We show that RT changes the mode of galactic self-regulation at this halo mass, suppressing star formation by causing the interstellar and circumgalactic gas to remain predominantly warm (∼104 K) even before cosmic reionization. By contrast, without RT, star formation regulation occurs only through starbursts and their associated vigorous galactic outflows. In spite of this difference, the entire simulation suite (with the exception of models without any feedback) matches observed dwarf galaxy sizes, velocity dispersions, V-band magnitudes, and dynamical mass-to-light-ratios. This is because such structural scaling relations are predominantly set by the host dark matter halo, with the remaining model-to-model variation being smaller than the observational scatter. We find that only the stellar mass-metallicity relation differentiates the galaxy formation models. Explosive feedback ejects more metals from the dwarf, leading to a lower metallicity at a fixed stellar mass. We conclude that the stellar mass-metallicity relation of the very smallest galaxies provides a unique constraint on galaxy formation physics.

Martin P. Rey, Andrew Pontzen, Oscar Agertz, Matthew Orkney, Justin Read, Amélie Saintonge, Christian Pedersen (2019)EDGE: The Origin of Scatter in Ultra-faint Dwarf Stellar Masses and Surface Brightnesses, In: Astrophysical Journal Letters886(1) The American Astronomical Society

We demonstrate how the least luminous galaxies in the universe, ultra-faint dwarf galaxies, are sensitive to their dynamical mass at the time of cosmic reionization. We select a low-mass (~ ´ 1.5 10 M☉ 9 ) dark matter halo from a cosmological volume, and perform zoom hydrodynamical simulations with multiple alternative histories using “genetically modified” initial conditions. Earlier-forming ultra-faints have higher stellar mass today, due to a longer period of star formation before their quenching by reionization. Our histories all converge to the same final dynamical mass, demonstrating the existence of extended scatter (1 dex) in stellar masses at fixed halo mass due to the diversity of possible histories. One of our variants builds less than 2% of its final dynamical mass before reionization, rapidly quenching in situ star formation. The bulk of its final stellar mass is later grown by dry mergers, depositing stars in the galaxy’s outskirts and hence expanding its effective radius. This mechanism constitutes a new formation scenario for highly diffuse (r1 2 ~ 820 pc, ~ - 32 mag arcsec 2 ), metal-poor ([Fe H 2.9 ] = - ), ultra-faint (V = -5.7) dwarf galaxies within the reach of next-generation low surface brightness surveys.

M D A Orkney, J I Read, J A Petts, M Gieles (2019)Globular clusters as probes of dark matter cusp-core transformations, In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society488(3)pp. 2977-2988 Oxford University Press (OUP)

Bursty star formation in dwarf galaxies can slowly transform a steep dark matter cusp into a constant density core. We explore the possibility that globular clusters (GCs) retain a dynamical memory of this transformation. To test this, we use the NBODY6DF code to simulate the dynamical evolution of GCs, including stellar evolution, orbiting in static and time-varying potentials for a Hubble time. We find that GCs orbiting within a cored dark matter halo, or within a halo that has undergone a cusp-core transformation, grow to a size that is substantially larger (Reff ˃ 10 pc) than those in a static cusped dark matter halo. They also produce much less tidal debris. We find that the cleanest signal of an historic cusp-core transformation is the presence of large GCs with tidal debris. However, the effect is small and will be challenging to observe in real galaxies. Finally, we qualitatively compare our simulated GCs with the observed GC populations in the Fornax, NGC 6822, IKN, and Sagittarius dwarf galaxies. We find that the GCs in these dwarf galaxies are systematically larger (〈Reff〉 ≃ 7.8 pc), and have substantially more scatter in their sizes than in situ metal-rich GCs in the Milky Way and young massive star clusters forming in M83 (〈Reff〉 ≃ 2.5 pc). We show that the size, scatter, and survival of GCs in dwarf galaxies are all consistent with them having evolved in a constant density core, or a potential that has undergone a cusp-core transformation, but not in a dark matter cusp.