Effects of photoionization on galaxy formation

Masashi Chiba, Biman B. Nath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


We investigate the effects of the observed UV background radiation on galaxy formation. Photoionization by UV radiation decreases the cooling rate of the gas in halos, so that objects with only large density contrasts can self-shield against the background radiation, thereby allowing the shielded neutral cores to cool and form stars. In the context of the CDM model, we use the criterion that self-shielding is essential for star formation to calculate the mass function of galaxies based on both Press-Schechter and the peaks formalisms. The ionizing UV radiation causes inhibition of galaxy formation - we show the decrease in the number density of the galaxies quantitatively. We also find that the merging in general is made inefficient by the UV photons through photoionization of the gas in the bigger system into which small objects are incorporated. The latter means that, in a merging-dominated region, where the number density at the low-mass end (Mb ≲ 1010 M) is usually expected to decrease with time, the trend is reversed (the number of low-mass galaxies is greater at lower redshifts z) due to the decreasing UV flux with time after z ∼ 2. We further discuss the implication of our results for the number counts of galaxies and possible evolution of the luminosity function of the galaxies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)618-628
Number of pages11
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1994 Dec 1


  • Diffuse radiation
  • Galaxies: formation
  • Radiative transfer


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