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Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Prof Carlos Frenk

McCarthy, I.G., Frenk, C.S., Font, A.S., Lacey, C.G., Bower, R.G., Mitchell, N.L., Balogh, M.L. & Theuns, T. (2008). Ram pressure stripping the hot gaseous haloes of galaxies in groups and clusters. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 383(2): 593-605.

Author(s) from Durham


We use a large suite of carefully controlled full hydrodynamic simulations to study the ram pressure stripping of the hot gaseous haloes of galaxies as they fall into massive groups and clusters. The sensitivity of the results to the orbit, total galaxy mass, and galaxy structural properties is explored. For typical structural and orbital parameters, we find that ∼30 per cent of the initial hot galactic halo gas can remain in place after 10 Gyr. We propose a physically simple analytic model that describes the stripping seen in the simulations remarkably well. The model is analogous to the original formulation of Gunn & Gott, except that it is appropriate for the case of a spherical (hot) gas distribution (as opposed to a face-on cold disc) and takes into account that stripping is not instantaneous but occurs on a characteristic time-scale. The model reproduces the results of the simulations to within ≈10 per cent at almost all times for all the orbits, mass ratios, and galaxy structural properties we have explored. The one exception involves unlikely systems where the orbit of the galaxy is highly non-radial and its mass exceeds about 10 per cent of the group or cluster into which it is falling (in which case the model underpredicts the stripping following pericentric passage). The proposed model has several interesting applications, including modelling the ram pressure stripping of both observed and cosmologically simulated galaxies and as a way to improve present semi-analytic models of galaxy formation. One immediate consequence is that the colours and morphologies of satellite galaxies in groups and clusters will differ significantly from those predicted with the standard assumption of complete stripping of the hot coronae.