http://arxiv.org/abs/1707.08046

We study the vertical structure of polytropic, $P\propto \rho^\Gamma$, centrifugally-supported gaseous discs embedded in cold dark matter (CDM) halos. At fixed radius $R$, the shape of the vertical density profile depends only weakly on whether the disc is self-gravitating (SG) or not (NSG). The disc thickness, set by the midplane sound speed and circular velocity, $(c_s/V_c)R$, in the NSG case, and by the sound speed and surface density, $c_s^2/G\Sigma$, in SG discs, is smaller than either of these scales. SG discs are typically Toomre unstable, NSG discs are stable. Exponential discs in CDM halos with roughly flat circular velocity curves generally “flare” outwards. For the polytropic equation of state of the EAGLE simulations, discs whose mass and size match observational constraints are stable (NSG) for $M_d< 3\times 10^9\, M_\odot$ and unstable (SG) at higher masses, if fully gaseous. We test these analytic results using a set of idealized SPH simulations and find excellent agreement. Our results clarify the role of the gravitational softening on the thickness of simulated discs, and on the onset of radial instabilities. EAGLE low-mass discs are non-self-gravitating so the softening plays no role in their vertical structure. High-mass discs, on the other hand, are expected to be self-gravitating and unstable, and may be artificially thickened and stabilized unless gravity is well resolved. Simulations with spatial resolution high enough to not compromise the vertical structure of a disc also resolve the onset of their instabilities, but the converse is not true: resolving instabilities does not guarantee that the vertical structure is resolved.

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A. Benitez-Llambay, J. Navarro, C. Frenk, et. al.

Wed, 26 Jul 17

10/68

Comments: Submitted to MNRAS

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