An Introduction to Gas Accretion onto Galaxies

  • Mary E. PutmanEmail author
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 430)


Evidence for gas accretion onto galaxies can be found throughout the universe. In this chapter, I summarize the direct and indirect signatures of this process and discuss the primary sources. The evidence for gas accretion includes the star formation rates and metallicities of galaxies, the evolution of the cold gas content of the universe with time, numerous indirect indicators for individual galaxies, and a few direct detections of inflow. The primary sources of gas accretion are the intergalactic medium, satellite gas, and feedback material. There is support for each of these sources from observations and simulations, but the methods with which the fuel ultimately settles in to form stars remain murky.


Star Formation Star Formation Rate Intergalactic Medium Metallicity Distribution Kinematic Signature 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



I thank J. Xavier Prochaska for his help making Fig. 1 pretty, Marcel Neeleman for sharing his data, Yong Zheng for providing the M33 figure, Jim Putman for useful plotting advice, Dan and Elaine Putman for daycare support, and NSF support from grants AST-1410800 and AST-1312888. Thanks to the University of Colorado for hosting me while I wrote this article, in particular conversations with Ben Oppenheimer and Julie Comerford.


  1. Bauermeister, A., Blitz, L., Bolatto, A., et al. 2013, ApJ, 768, 132ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bauermeister, A., Blitz, L., & Ma, C.-P. 2010, ApJ, 717, 323ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bigiel, F., Leroy, A. K., Walter, F., et al. 2011, ApJL, 730, L13ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bland-Hawthorn, J., Sutherland, R., Agertz, O., & Moore, B. 2007, ApJL, 670, L109ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bouché, N., Finley, H., Schroetter, I., et al. 2016, ApJ, 820, 121ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bowen, D. V., Chelouche, D., Jenkins, E. B., et al. 2016, ApJ, 826, 50ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bregman, J. N. 2007, ARA&A, 45, 221ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bressan, A., Chiosi, C., & Fagotto, F. 1994, ApJS, 94, 63ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brooks, A. M., Governato, F., Quinn, T., Brook, C. B., & Wadsley, J. 2009, ApJ, 694, 396ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Carilli, C. L., & Walter, F. 2013, ARA&A, 51, 105ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Chen, H.-W., Lanzetta, K. M., & Webb, J. K. 2001, ApJ, 556, 158ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chen, H.-W., Wild, V., Tinker, J. L., et al. 2010, ApJL, 724, L176ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chiappini, C. 2009, in IAU Symposium Vol. 254, ed. J. Andersen, J. Bland-Hawthorn, & B. Nordström, 191Google Scholar
  14. Cooper, T. J., Simcoe, R. A., Cooksey, K. L., O’Meara, J. M., & Torrey, P. 2015, ApJ, 812, 58ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Crighton, N. H. M., Hennawi, J. F., & Prochaska, J. X. 2013, ApJL, 776, L18ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Daddi, E., Bournaud, F., Walter, F., et al. 2010, ApJ, 713, 686ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Dieter, N. H. 1971, A&A, 12, 59ADSGoogle Scholar
  18. Duffy, A. R., Meyer, M. J., Staveley-Smith, L., et al. 2012, MNRAS, 426, 3385ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Emerick, A., Mac Low, M.-M., Grcevich, J., & Gatto, A. 2016, ApJ, 826, 148ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Fenner, Y., & Gibson, B. K. 2003, PASA, 20, 189ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fernández, X., Gim, H. B., van Gorkom, J. H., et al. 2016, ApJL, 824, L1ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fernández, X., Joung, M. R., & Putman, M. E. 2012, ApJ, 749, 181ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ferrière, K. M. 2001, Reviews of Modern Physics, 73, 1031ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fox, A. J., Wakker, B. P., Barger, K. A., et al. 2014, ApJ, 787, 147ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fraternali, F., & Binney, J. J. 2008, MNRAS, 386, 935ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Fumagalli, M., Cantalupo, S., Dekel, A., et al. 2016, MNRAS, 462, 1978ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gallazzi, A., Charlot, S., Brinchmann, J., White, S. D. M., & Tremonti, C. A. 2005, MNRAS, 362, 41ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gatto, A., Fraternali, F., Read, J. I., et al. 2013, MNRAS, 433, 2749ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Geha, M., Blanton, M. R., Yan, R., & Tinker, J. L. 2012, ApJ, 757, 85ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Genzel, R., Tacconi, L. J., Gracia-Carpio, J., et al. 2010, MNRAS, 407, 2091ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Giavalisco, M., Vanzella, E., Salimbeni, S., et al. 2011, ApJ, 743, 95ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Grcevich, J., & Putman, M. E. 2009, ApJ, 696, 385ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Grillmair, C. J., Lauer, T. R., Worthey, G., et al. 1996, AJ, 112, 1975ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Heckman, T. M., Lehnert, M. D., Strickland, D. K., & Armus, L. 2000, ApJS, 129, 493ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Heitsch, F., & Putman, M. E. 2009, ApJ, 698, 1485ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Henry, R. B. C., & Worthey, G. 1999, PASA, 111, 919CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Holmberg, J., Nordström, B., & Andersen, J. 2007, A&A, 475, 519ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hopkins, A. M., McClure-Griffiths, N. M., & Gaensler, B. M. 2008, ApJL, 682, L13ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Hoppmann, L., Staveley-Smith, L., Freudling, W., et al. 2015, MNRAS, 452, 3726ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Huang, S., Haynes, M. P., Giovanelli, R., & Brinchmann, J. 2012, ApJ, 756, 113ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Hulsbosch, A. N. M. 1968, Bull. Astron. Inst. Netherlands, 20, 33ADSGoogle Scholar
  42. Hunt, L. K., García-Burillo, S., Casasola, V., et al. 2015, A&A, 583, A114ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Joung, M., Putman, M., Bryan, G., Fernandez, X., & Peek, J. 2012a, ApJGoogle Scholar
  44. Joung, M. R., Bryan, G. L., & Putman, M. E. 2012b, ApJ, 745, 148Google Scholar
  45. Karim, A., Schinnerer, E., Martínez-Sansigre, A., et al. 2011, ApJ, 730, 61ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Kennicutt, R. C., & Evans, N. J. 2012, ARA&A, 50, 531ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Kereš, D., Katz, N., Weinberg, D. H., & Davé, R. 2005, MNRAS, 363, 2ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Kirby, E. N., Cohen, J. G., Guhathakurta, P., et al. 2013, ApJ, 779, 102ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Kreckel, K., Platen, E., Aragón-Calvo, M. A., et al. 2012, AJ, 144, 16ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Lah, P., Chengalur, J. N., Briggs, F. H., et al. 2007, MNRAS, 376, 1357ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Larson, R. B. 1972a, Nature Physical Science, 236, 7Google Scholar
  52. Larson, R. B. 1972b, Nature, 236, 21Google Scholar
  53. Lehner, N., & Howk, J. C. 2011, Science, 334, 955ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Lehner, N., Howk, J. C., Tripp, T. M., et al. 2013, ApJ, 770, 138ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Leroy, A. K., Walter, F., Brinks, E., et al. 2008, AJ, 136, 2782ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Leroy, A. K., Walter, F., Sandstrom, K., et al. 2013, AJ, 146, 19ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Madau, P., & Dickinson, M. 2014, ARA&A, 52, 415ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Magrini, L., Corbelli, E., & Galli, D. 2007, A&A, 470, 843ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Marasco, A., Crain, R. A., Schaye, J., et al. 2016, MNRAS, 461, 2630ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Marinacci, F., Binney, J., Fraternali, F., et al. 2010, MNRAS, 404, 1464ADSGoogle Scholar
  61. Martin, C. L., Shapley, A. E., Coil, A. L., et al. 2012, ApJ, 760, 127ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Martin, D. C., Matuszewski, M., Morrissey, P., et al. 2016, ApJL, 824, L5ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Muller, C. A., Oort, J. H., & Raimond, E. 1963, Academie des Sciences Paris Comptes Rendus, 257, 1661ADSGoogle Scholar
  64. Muratov, A. L., Keres, D., Faucher-Giguère, C.-A., et al. 2016, arXiv:1606.09252Google Scholar
  65. Neeleman, M., Prochaska, J. X., Ribaudo, J., et al. 2016, ApJ, 818, 113ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Oort, J. H. 1970, A&A, 7, 381ADSGoogle Scholar
  67. Oosterloo, T., Fraternali, F., & Sancisi, R. 2007, AJ, 134, 1019ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Oppenheimer, B. D., Crain, R. A., Schaye, J., et al. 2016, MNRASGoogle Scholar
  69. Pearson, S., Besla, G., Putman, M. E., et al. 2016, MNRAS, 459, 1827ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Penton, S. V., Stocke, J. T., & Shull, J. M. 2002, ApJ, 565, 720ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Prochaska, J. X., Herbert-Fort, S., & Wolfe, A. M. 2005, ApJ, 635, 123ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Prochaska, J. X., Weiner, B., Chen, H.-W., Mulchaey, J., & Cooksey, K. 2011, ApJ, 740, 91ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Prochaska, J. X., & Wolfe, A. M. 2009, ApJ, 696, 1543ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Putman, M. E., Henning, P., Bolatto, A., et al. 2009, Astro2010: The Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey, 241 (arXiv:0902.4717)Google Scholar
  75. Putman, M. E., Peek, J. E. G., & Joung, M. R. 2012, ARA&A, 50, 491ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Putman, M. E., Staveley-Smith, L., Freeman, K. C., Gibson, B. K., & Barnes, D. G. 2003, ApJ, 586, 170ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Rao, S. M., Turnshek, D. A., & Nestor, D. B. 2006, ApJ, 636, 610ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Rauch, M., Becker, G. D., & Haehnelt, M. G. 2016, MNRAS, 455, 3991ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Rubin, K. H. R., Prochaska, J. X., Koo, D. C., & Phillips, A. C. 2012, ApJL, 747, L26ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Rubin, K. H. R., Prochaska, J. X., Koo, D. C., et al. 2014, ApJ, 794, 156ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Salem, M., Besla, G., Bryan, G., et al. 2015, ApJ, 815, 77ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Sánchez-Ramírez, R., Ellison, S. L., Prochaska, J. X., et al. 2016, MNRAS, 456, 4488ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Sancisi, R., Fraternali, F., Oosterloo, T., & van der Hulst, T. 2008, Astron. Astrophys. Rev., 15, 189ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Santini, P., Maiolino, R., Magnelli, B., 2014, A&A, 562, A30ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Sato, T., Martin, C. L., Noeske, K. G., et al. 2009, ApJ, 696, 214ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Schiminovich, D., Catinella, B., Kauffmann, G. et al. 2010, MNRAS, 408, 919ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Scoville, N., Sheth, K., Aussel, H., et al. 2016, ApJ, 820, 83ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Shapley, A. E. 2011, ARA&A, 49, 525ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Shapley, A. E., Steidel, C. C., Pettini, M., & Adelberger, K. L. 2003, ApJ, 588, 65ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Shull, J. M., Smith, B. D., & Danforth, C. W. 2012, ApJ, 759, 23ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Spekkens, K., Urbancic, N., Mason, B. S., Willman, B., & Aguirre, J. E. 2014, ApJL, 795, L5ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Stewart, K. R., Kaufmann, T., Bullock, J. S., et al. 2011, ApJ, 738, 39ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Stott, J. P., Sobral, D., Swinbank, A. M., et al. 2014, MNRAS, 443, 2695ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Tacconi, L. J., Neri, R., Genzel, R., et al. 2013, ApJ, 768, 74ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Tepper-García, T., Bland-Hawthorn, J., & Sutherland, R. S. 2015, ApJ, 813, 94ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Tumlinson, J., Thom, C., Werk, J. K., et al. 2013, ApJ, 777, 59ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  97. Tumlinson, J., Thom, C., Werk, J. K., et al. 2011, Science, 334, 948ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. van den Bergh, S. 1962, AJ, 67, 486ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. van Zee, L. 2001, AJ, 121, 2003ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  100. Voit, G. M., Bryan, G. L., O’Shea, B. W., & Donahue, M. 2015, ApJL, 808, L30ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. Wakker, B. P., & Savage, B. D. 2009, ApJS, 182, 378ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  102. Weiner, B. J., Coil, A. L., Prochaska, J. X., et al. 2009, ApJ, 692, 187ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  103. Werk, J. K., Prochaska, J. X., Tumlinson, J., et al. 2014, ApJ, 792, 8ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  104. Westmeier, T., Braun, R., Brüns, C., Kerp, J., & Thilker, D. A. 2007, New Astron. Rev., 51, 108ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  105. Zafar, T., Péroux, C., Popping, A., et al. 2013, A&A, 556, A141ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  106. Zheng, Y., Putman, M. E., Peek, J. E. G., & Joung, M. R. 2015, ApJ, 807, 103ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  107. Zheng, Y., Peek, J., Werk, J., & Putman, M. 2017, ApJ, 834, 179ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  108. Zwaan, M. A., Meyer, M. J., Staveley-Smith, L., & Webster, R. L. 2005, MNRAS, 359, L30ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AstronomyColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations