Population III star formation in large cosmological volumes. I. Halo temporal and physical environment

Brian D. Crosby, Brian W. O'Shea, Britton D. Smith, Matthew J. Turk, Oliver Hahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a semi-analytic, computationally inexpensive model to identify halos capable of forming a Population III star in cosmological simulations across a wide range of times and environments. This allows for a much more complete and representative set of Population III star forming halos to be constructed, which will lead to Population III star formation simulations that more accurately reflect the diversity of Population III stars, both in time and halo mass. This model shows that Population III and chemically enriched stars coexist beyond the formation of the first generation of stars in a cosmological simulation until at least z ∼ 10, and likely beyond, though Population III stars form at rates that are 4-6 orders of magnitude lower than chemically enriched stars by z = 10. A catalog of more than 40,000 candidate Population III forming halos were identified, with formation times temporally ranging from z = 30 to z = 10, and ranging in mass from 2.3 × 105 M to 1.2 × 1010 M . At early times, the environment that Population III stars form in is very similar to that of halos hosting chemically enriched star formation. At later times Population III stars are found to form in low-density regions that are not yet chemically polluted due to a lack of previous star formation in the area. Population III star forming halos become increasingly spatially isolated from one another at later times, and are generally closer to halos hosting chemically enriched star formation than to another halo hosting Population III star formation by z ∼ 10.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 20 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • early universe
  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • methods: numerical
  • stars: Population III
  • stars: formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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