Efficient simulations of ionized ISM emission lines: A detailed comparison between the FIRE high-redshift suite and observations


The Atacama Large Millimeter/Submillimeter Array (ALMA) in the sub-millimeter and the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) in the infrared have achieved robust spectroscopic detections of emission lines from the interstellar medium (ISM) in some of the first galaxies. These unprecedented measurements provide valuable information regarding the ISM properties, stellar populations, galaxy morphologies, and kinematics in these high-redshift galaxies and, in principle, offer powerful tests of state-of-the-art galaxy formation models, as implemented in hydrodynamical simulations. To facilitate direct comparisons between simulations and observations, we develop a fast post-processing pipeline for predicting the line emission from the HII regions around simulated star particles, accounting for spatial variations in the surrounding gas density, metallicity, temperature, and incident radiation spectrum. Our ISM line emission model currently captures Hα\alpha, Hβ\beta, and all of the [OIII] and [OII] lines targeted by ALMA and the JWST at z>6z>6. We illustrate the power of this approach by applying our line emission model to the publicly available FIRE high-zz simulation suite and perform a detailed comparison with current observations. We show that the FIRE mass--metallicity relation is in 1σ1\sigma agreement with ALMA/JWST measurements after accounting for the inhomogeneities in ISM properties. We also quantitatively validate the one-zone model description, which is widely used for interpreting [OIII] and Hβ\beta line luminosity measurements. This model is publicly available and can be implemented on top of a broad range of galaxy formation simulations for comparison with JWST and ALMA measurements.Comment: 15 pages, 13 figure

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