Possible Imprints of Cold-mode Accretion on the Present-day Properties of Disk Galaxies

Masafumi Noguchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Recent theoretical studies suggest that a significant part of the primordial gas accretes onto forming galaxies as narrow filaments of cold gas without building a shock and experiencing heating. Using a simple model of disk galaxy evolution that combines the growth of dark matter halos predicted by cosmological simulations with a hypothetical form of cold-mode accretion, we investigate how this cold-accretion mode affects the formation process of disk galaxies. It is found that the shock-heating and cold-accretion models produce compatible results for low-mass galaxies owing to the short cooling timescale in such galaxies. However, cold accretion significantly alters the evolution of disk galaxies more massive than the Milky Way and puts observable fingerprints on their present properties. For a galaxy with a virial mass Mvir 2.5 = × 1012 Mo, the scale length of the stellar disk is larger by 41% in the cold-accretion model than in the shock-heating model, with the former model reproducing the steep rise in the size-mass relation observed at the high-mass end. Furthermore, the stellar component of massive galaxies becomes significantly redder (0.66 in u - r at Mvir 2.5 = × 1012 Mo), and the observed color-mass relation in nearby galaxies is qualitatively reproduced. These results suggest that large disk galaxies with red optical colors may be the product of cold-mode accretion. The essential role of cold accretion is to promote disk formation in the intermediate-evolution phase (0.5 < z < 1.5) by providing the primordial gas having large angular momentum and to terminate late-epoch accretion, quenching star formation and making massive galaxies red.

Original languageEnglish
Article number67
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jan 20


  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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