NIHAO project - I. Reproducing the inefficiency of galaxy formation across cosmic time with a large sample of cosmological hydrodynamical simulations

Liang Wang, Aaron A. Dutton, Gregory S. Stinson, Andrea V. Macciò, Camilla Penzo, Xi Kang, Ben W. Keller, James Wadsley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We introduce project NIHAO (Numerical Investigation of a Hundred Astrophysical Objects), a set of 100 cosmological zoom-in hydrodynamical simulations performed using the GASOLINE code, with an improved implementation of the SPH algorithm. The haloes in our study range from dwarf (M200 ~ 5 × 109M) to Milky Way (M200 ~ 2 × 1012M) masses, and represent an unbiased sampling of merger histories, concentrations and spin parameters. The particle masses and force softenings are chosen to resolve the mass profile to below 1 per cent of the virial radius at all masses, ensuring that galaxy half-light radii are well resolved. Using the same treatment of star formation and stellar feedback for every object, the simulated galaxies reproduce the observed inefficiency of galaxy formation across cosmic time as expressed through the stellar mass versus halo mass relation, and the star formation rate versus stellar mass relation. We thus conclude that stellar feedback is the chief piece of physics required to limit the efficiency of star formation in galaxies less massive than the Milky Way.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-94
Number of pages12
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015



  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: formation
  • Galaxies: spiral
  • Methods: numerical
  • cosmology: theory
  • galaxies: dwarf

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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