SPHINX20 data release

We have now made available a catalog of selected galaxies from the SPHINX20 simulation. The catalog can be found here. It contains galaxies featuring the highest star formation rates in the simulation, and hence most luminous and comparable to those detected at high redshifts by the James Webb Telescope. The catalog covers simulation snapshots at redshifts 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, and the last one of the simulation at 4.64, and contains a total of 1,380 galaxies. Each galaxy is viewed from 10 different directions, resulting in about 14 thousand mock images and spectra of the stellar continuum, nebular continuum, and 52 nebular emission lines, as well as intrinsic properties of the galaxies. The data release website also provides basic python notebooks to read and manipulate the data.

We have submitted an accompanying paper for publication with Open Journals, containing detailed information on the data release as well as various use-case demonstrations and comparisons with high-redshift observations. The paper, Katz et al., appears on arXiv today.

The image below, taken from the data release paper, shows RGB images of some of the SPHINX galaxies making the strongest contributions to reionization, i.e. with the highest ionizing luminosities, and how this type of galaxies evolves with redshift in NIRCam filter luminosities, as indicated at the bottom.

Choustikov et al. submitted for publication

“The Physics of Indirect Estimators of Lyman Continuum Escape and their Application to High-Redshift JWST Galaxies” by Nicholas Choustikov et al. (2023) has been submitted for publication with MNRAS. The paper identifies diagnostics that can be used to identify leaking of ionizing radiation from galaxies, finding that such diagnostics must track specific star formation rates, stellar population age, and neutral gas content. Observational signatures exposing these diagnostics in high-redshift galaxies are identified.

“Two modes of LyC escape from bursty star formation” accepted for publication

“Two modes of LyC escape from bursty star formation: implications for [C II] deficits and the sources of reionization” by Harley Katz et al. (2023) describes observational signatures of the escape of ionizing radiation from galaxies. Galaxies that have recently experienced strong starbursts are found to exhibit the highest escape fraction, and their nature of escape depends on whether the star formation activity is still ongoing or has recently ceased. CII, Ha, and UV emission is predicted to be a good indicator of ionizing radiation ‘leaking’ and, if so, which of these categories galaxies belong to.

Rosdahl et al. (2022) accepted for publication

“LyC escape from SPHINX galaxies in the Epoch of Reionization” by Rosdahl et al. has been accepted for publication in MNRAS. The paper explores correlations of the escape fraction of LyC radiation, fesc, with various galaxy properties in tens of thousands of SPHINX galaxies and how fesc evolves with redshift.  The escape fraction is found to fluctuate enormously in individual galaxies due to its regulation by stellar feedback. It is found to be highest in intermediate-mass, metallicity, and luminosity galaxies and drops strongly for the most massive, metal-rich, and brightest galaxies. The global average fesc is found to drop with time, in sync with a decreasing intensity of star formation in the expanding Universe. 

Katz et al. (2022) accepted for publication

A new SPHINX paper titled “Mg II in the JWST Era: a Probe of Lyman Continuum Escape?” by Katz et al. has been accepted for publication in MNRAS. The authors use SPHINX to probe whether there exists a correlation between the escape of ionizing radiation from galaxies and their MgII emission and absorption. If it exists, such a correlation could be used to identify the galaxies that power reionization. Statistically there is a tendency for galaxies with high LyC escape fractions to be MgII emitters, but with a lot of scatter. In short it’s complicated and line emission is difficult to interpret, especially since the same galaxy can exhibit very different spectral properties along different lines of sight.

Maji et al. (2022) accepted for publication

“Predicting LyC emission of galaxies using their physical and Lyα emission properties” by Moupiya Maji et al. has been accepted for publication in A&A. This work uses the SPHINX simulations to study what observational properties can be used to predict the escaping luminosity of ionising Lyman-continuum (LyC) radiation from galaxies in the Epoch of Reionization, which is by itself very difficult to estimate observationally. A strong correlation between Lyman-alpha (Lyα) and Lyman-continuum escape fractions is found in Lya-bright galaxies is found, as in observations of low-redshift galaxies, and these Lya-bright galaxies are found to be the ones that predominantly reionize the Universe. However, this correlation breaks down in Lya-dim galaxies. The most important predictors of LyC luminosity are found to be Lyα luminosity, galaxy gas mass, galaxy metallicity, and star formation rate.

Katz et al. (2022) accepted for publication

A new paper by Harley Katz and SPHINX collaborators is out, titled “The Nature of High [OIII]88𝜇m/[CII]158𝜇m Galaxies in the Epoch of Reionization: Low Carbon Abundance and a Top-Heavy IMF?”. The paper addresses the high [OIII] to [CII] metal-line ratios observed in extreme-redshift galaxies and uses mock-observations of SPHINX simulation galaxies to gain insight, finding that SPHINX galaxies reproduce these observed high ratios only if high-ratios of C/O abundances are assumed. This in turn implies that stellar populations in the early Universe may have been significantly more top-heavy than in the present-day, in other words that stars were generally more massive at early times.

Katz et al (2021) accepted for publication

“Introducing SPHINX-MHD: the impact of primordial magnetic fields on the first galaxies, reionization, and the global 21-cm signal” studies the effects of primordial magnetic fields on high-redshift galaxy formation, using new SPHINX runs with radiative magneto-hydrodynamics. The simulations show that realistic-magnitude primordial fields do not have a large impact on star formation, but stronger magnetic fields tend to make galaxies somewhat more compact and have slightly stronger ionising escape fractions. Primordial field spectral indices of about -2.6 can be ruled out as they produce electron scattering optical depths for cosmic microwave background radiation which is higher than observational constraints.

Attia et al. (2021) accepted for publication

Cosmological Magnetogenesis: The Biermann battery during the Epoch of Reionization” proposes a new numerical scheme to model the generation of magnetic fields via the Biermann battery effect — currents generated by misaligned gradients in the electron pressure and density. The new numerical scheme is tested in a SPHINX volume and simulation setup. As expected, a weak volume-filling magnetic field is generated by expanding ionization fronts in the simulation volume. However, a much stronger inter-galactic magnetic field is also generated via the Biermann battery by expanding galactic winds, which are powered by supernova feedback in the first galaxies.


Garel et al. (2021) accepted for publication


A new SPHINX paper, “Lyman-𝛼 as a tracer of cosmic reionisation in the SPHINX radiation-hydrodynamics cosmological simulation” by Thibault Garel et al. has been accepted for publication in MNRAS. The paper addresses the question of whether the increase in Lyman-alpha (Lya) emitters with decreasing redshift is due to an evolution in galaxy properties or due to the decreasing Lya absorption by neutral gas in the inter-galactic medium (IGM). Little or no evolution is found in internal Lya emission or escape from galaxies, so the evolution in Lya emitters is pinned on the reionizing IGM.