The EAGLE simulations:
Evolution & Assembly of GaLaxies and their Environments

News: EAGLE wins Research Project of the Year at the Educate North awards, and is runner-up in the same category at the Times Higher Education awards.


Project description (or jump to publications)

The EAGLE project is a campaign of large-scale hydrodynamical simulations of the Lambda-Cold Dark Matter universe, run by the Virgo Consortium. They are unique in being the only hydrodynamical simulations to reproduce the observed properties of the evolving galaxy population, in particular their stellar masses and sizes, a success that has led to a remarkable scientific impact. The first reference paper of the EAGLE simulations was the most-cited astrophysics publication (out of over 23,000) of 2015.

The largest of the EAGLE simulations contains 6.8 billion particles and ran for nearly 6 weeks on one of Europe’s largest supercomputers, filling 32 TB of RAM and producing 500 TB of data – roughly five thousand times the size of the English language Wikipedia. The project was enabled by access to world-leading supercomputing facilities via the DiRAC and PRACE networks. PRACE highlighted EAGLE as one of its major recent successes, and an interview with Joop Schaye and I is featured in their 2014 annual report.

Setting aside the memory requirement, if run on a home computer the simulation would need 500 years to complete – meaning it would have been necessary to start it during the reign of Henry VIII to have it finished by the present day. If Sir Isaac Newton (a fellow Lincolnshire astronomer!) had a modern personal computer and started the simulation in 1678 upon his publication of the universal theory of gravitation – which the simulation relies upon – it would only be 65% complete by now, corresponding to a redshift of z~0.45!

The chief aim of the project is to examine the formation of galaxies and their co-evolution with their gaseous environments. Unlike most scientists, astronomers cannot conduct experiments in a laboratory, so we require the next best thing – a fake Universe upon which we can conduct numerical experiments. For the first time, EAGLE gives astronomers a realistic laboratory in which to experiment: we can now manipulate the conditions of the Universe and so understand how astrophysical processes influence the characteristics of galaxies, we can go back and forth in time to witness the formation of galaxies like the Milky Way.

The core EAGLE team is:

Reference articles | Database description | Methods articles | Analysis papers | Database articles

For a guaranteed list of up-to-date EAGLE publications, it’s best to check with the ADS, but I provide here a list of the reference and methods papers.

Reference papers (please cite both if referring to the project):

The EAGLE project: Simulating the evolution and
assembly of galaxies and their environments
Schaye et al. (2015)ADS
The EAGLE simulations of galaxy formation: calibration of subgrid physics and model variationsCrain et al. (2015)ADS

The public release and database description:

The halo and galaxy catalogues, plus other data products, are available for public download via the same SQL web interface as used by the Millennium Simulation. To access the data, please register as a user.

The EAGLE simulations of galaxy formation: public release of halo and galaxy cataloguesMcAlpine et al. (2016)ADS

Methods papers

Gravity solverThe cosmological simulation code GADGET-2Springel (2005)ADS
Radiative cooling The effect of photoionization on the cooling rates of enriched, astrophysical plasmasWiersma, Schaye & Smith. (2009)ADS
ISM dynamics & star formationOn the relation between the Schmidt and Kennicutt-Schmidt star formation laws and its implications for numerical simulationsSchaye & Dalla Vecchia (2008)ADS
Chemical enrichmentChemical enrichment in cosmological, smoothed particle hydrodynamics simulationsWiersma et al. (2009)ADS
Stellar feedbackSimulating galactic outflows with thermal supernova feedbackDalla Vecchia & Schaye (2012)ADS
Black hole feedbackCosmological simulations of the growth of supermassive black holes and feedback from active galactic nuclei: method and testsBooth & Schaye (2009)
Black hole growthThe impact of angular momentum on black hole accretion rates in simulations of galaxy formationRosas-Guevara et al. (2015)ADS
Time stepping Implementation of feedback in smoothed particle hydrodynamics: towards concordance of methodsDurier & Dalla Vecchia (2012)ADS

Analysis papers

The following are papers written in collaboration with the EAGLE team under the EAGLE publication policy.

Evolution of galaxy stellar masses and star formation rates in the EAGLE simulations
Furlong et al. (2015)ADS
The EAGLE simulations of galaxy formation: the importance of the hydrodynamics scheme
Schaller et al. (2015)ADS
Baryon effects on the internal structure of ΛCDM haloes in the EAGLE simulations
Schaller et al. (2015)ADS
The effect of baryons on the inner density profiles of rich clusters
Schaller et al. (2015)ADS
Colours and luminosities of z = 0.1 galaxies in the EAGLE simulation
Trayford et al. (2015)ADS
The distribution of neutral hydrogen around high-redshift galaxies and quasars in the EAGLE simulation
Rahmati et al. (2015)ADS
Molecular hydrogen abundances of galaxies in the EAGLE simulations
Lagos et al. (2015)ADS
The alignment and shape of dark matter, stellar, and hot gas distributions in the EAGLE and cosmo-OWLS simulations
Velliscig et al. (2015)ADS
Intrinsic alignments of galaxies in the EAGLE and cosmo-OWLS simulations
Velliscig et al (2015)ADS
Simulated Milky Way analogues: implications for dark matter indirect searches

Calore et al (2015)ADS
The unexpected diversity of dwarf galaxy rotation curves
Oman et al. (2015)ADS
Bent by baryons: the low-mass galaxy-halo relation
Sawala et al. (2015)ADS
Recycled stellar ejecta as fuel for star formation and implications for the origin of the galaxy mass-metallicity relationSegers et al. (2016)ADS
Dark matter annihilation radiation in hydrodynamic simulations of Milky Way haloes
Schaller et al. (2016)ADS
The distribution of atomic hydrogen in EAGLE galaxies: morphologies, profiles, and H I holesBahe et al. (2016)ADS
The chosen few: the low-mass haloes that host faint galaxies
Sawala et al. (2016)ADS
The APOSTLE project: Local Group kinematic mass constraints and simulation candidate selection
Fattahi et al. (2016)ADS
Cosmic distribution of highly ionized metals and their physical conditions in the EAGLE simulations
Rahmati et al. (2016)ADS
The APOSTLE simulations: solutions to the Local Group's cosmic puzzles
Sawala et al. (2016)ADS
The brighter galaxies reionized the Universe
Sharma et al. (2016)ADS
Bimodality of low-redshift circumgalactic O VI in non-equilibrium EAGLE zoom simulations
Oppenheimer et al. (2016)ADS
The offsets between galaxies and their dark matter in Λ cold dark matter
Schaller et al. (2016)ADS
Simulated Milky Way analogues: implications for dark matter direct searches
Bozorgnia et al. (2016)ADS
The link between the assembly of the inner dark matter halo and the angular momentum evolution of galaxies in the EAGLE simulation
Zavala et al. (2016)ADS
Galaxies in the EAGLE hydrodynamical simulation and in the Durham and Munich semi-analytical models
Guo et al. (2016)ADS
The low abundance and insignificance of dark discs in simulated Milky Way galaxies
Schaller et al. (2016)ADS
Alignments between galaxies, satellite systems and haloes
Shao et al (2016)ADS
The origin of compact galaxies with anomalously high black hole masses
Barber et al. (2016)ADS
On the connection between the metal-enriched intergalactic medium and galaxies: an O VI-galaxy cross-correlation study at z < 1
Finn et al. (2016)ADS
The Fundamental Plane of star formation in galaxies revealed by the EAGLE hydrodynamical simulationsLagos et al. (2016a)ADS
The EAGLE simulations: atomic hydrogen associated with galaxies
Crain et al. (2016)ADS
Supermassive black holes in the EAGLE Universe. Revealing the observables of their growth
Rosas-Guevara et al. (2016)ADS
The origin of the $\alpha$-enhancement of massive galaxies
Segers et al. (2016)ADS
The effect of baryons on redshift space distortions and cosmic density and velocity fields in the EAGLE simulation
Hellwing et al. (2016)ADS
Music from the heavens - Gravitational waves from supermassive black hole mergers in the EAGLE simulations
Salcido et al. (2016)ADS
The low-mass end of the baryonic Tully-Fisher relationSales et al. (2016)ADS
It's not easy being green: The evolution of galaxy colour in the EAGLE simulation
Trayford et al. (2016)ADS
Size evolution of normal and compact galaxies in the EAGLE simulation
Furlong et al. (2016)ADS
Subhalo abundance matching and assembly bias in the EAGLE simulation
Chaves-Montero et al. (2016)ADS
Observations of metals in the $zapprox3.5$ intergalactic medium and comparison to the EAGLE simulationsTurner et al. (2016)ADS
The low abundance and insignificance of dark discs in simulated Milky Way galaxies
Schaller et al. (2016)ADS
The environmental dependence of HI in galaxies in the EAGLE simulationsMarasco et al. (2016)ADS
Winds of change: reionization by starburst galaxiesSharma et al. (2016)ADS
Size matters: abundance matching, galaxy sizes, and the Tully-Fisher relation in EAGLE
Ferrero et al. (2016)ADS
Far-infrared and dust properties of present-day galaxies in the EAGLE simulations
Camps et al. (2016)ADS
The dark nemesis of galaxy formation: why hot haloes trigger black hole growth and bring star formation to an endBower et al. (2016)ADS
How to get cool in the heat: comparing analytic models of
halo gas cooling with EAGLE
Stevens et al. (2016)ADS
The origin of scatter in the stellar mass - halo mass relation of central galaxies in the EAGLE simulation
Matthee et al. (2016)ADS
Being WISE II: Reducing the Influence of Star Formation History on the Mass-to-Light Ratio of Quiescent Galaxies
Norris et al. (2016)ADS
The origin of the enhanced metallicity of satellite galaxies
Bahe et al. (2016)ADS
The properties of "dark" LCDM halos in the Local GroupBenitez-Llambay et al. (2016)ADS
The oldest and most metal poor stars in the APOSTLE Local Group simulations
Starkenburg et al. (2016)ADS
Barred galaxies in the EAGLE cosmological hydrodynamical simulationAlgorry et al. (2016)ADS
A chronicle of galaxy mass assembly in the EAGLE simulationQu et al. (2016)ADS

Baryon effects on void statistics in the EAGLE simulation
Paillas et al. (2016)ADS
Angular momentum evolution of galaxies in EAGLE
Lagos et al. (2016b)ADS
Predictions for the detection of Tidal Streams with Gaia using Great Circle MethodsMateu et al. (2016)ADS
The low abundance and insignificance of dark discs in simulated Milky Way galaxies
Schaller et al. (2016)ADS
What to expect from dynamical modelling of galactic haloes
Wang et al. (2016)ADS
Missing dark matter in dwarf galaxies?
Oman et al. (2016)ADS
Shaken and Stirred: The Milky Way's Dark Substructures
Sawala et al. (2016)ADS
Knowing the unknowns: uncertainties in simple estimators of dynamical masses
Campbell et al. (2016)ADS
The Mass-Discrepancy Acceleration Relation: a Natural Outcome of Galaxy Formation in CDM halosLudlow et al. (2016)ADS
Properties of Local Group galaxies in hydrodynamical simulations of sterile neutrino dark matter cosmologies
Lovell et al. (2016)ADS
Tidal features of classical Milky Way satellites in a ΛCDM universeWang et al. (2016)ADS
Origins of carbon enhanced metal poor stars
Sharma et al. (2016)ADS
Small-scale galaxy clustering in the EAGLE simulation
Artale et al. (2016)ADS
The environmental dependence of gas accretion onto galaxies: quenching satellites through starvationvan de Voort et al. (2017)ADS
On the galaxy-halo connection in the EAGLE simulation
Desmond et al. (2017)ADS
Angular momentum evolution of galaxies over the past 10-Gyr: A MUSE and KMOS dynamical survey of 400 star-forming galaxies from z=0.3-1.7Swinbank et al. (2017)ADS

Public database papers

The following are papers written by the wider astronomy community (occasionally including EAGLE team members), using data made publicly available by the EAGLE team via the Virgo Consortium’s SQL database. This list may well be incomplete, as it’s difficult to keep track of all such publications.

A large difference in the progenitor masses of active and passive galaxies in the EAGLE simulation
Clauwens, Franx & Schaye (2016)ADS
The baryonic Tully-Fisher relation cares about the galaxy sample
Sorce & GuoADS
An Overmassive Dark Halo around an Ultra-diffuse Galaxy in the Virgo Cluster
Beasley et al. (2016)ADS
The impact of baryonic physics on the subhalo mass function and implications for gravitational lensing
Despali & VegettiADS
Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA): M_star - R_e relations of z = 0 bulges, discs and spheroids
Lange et al. (2016)ADS
Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA): the absence of stellar mass segregation in galaxy groups and consistent predictions from GALFORM and EAGLE simulations
Kafle et al. (2016)ADS
MUFASA: galaxy formation simulations with meshless hydrodynamics
Davé, Thompson & Hopkins (2016)ADS
The Metal Abundances across Cosmic Time (MACT) Survey. II. Evolution of the Mass-metallicity Relation over 8 Billion Years, Using [OIII]4363AA-based Metallicities
Ly et al. (2016)ADS
The KMOS Redshift One Spectroscopic Survey (KROSS): dynamical properties, gas and dark matter fractions of typical z ˜ 1 star-forming galaxies
Stott et al. (2016)ADS
The KMOS Redshift One Spectroscopic Survey (KROSS): the Tully-Fisher relation at z ˜ 1
Tiley et al. (2016)ADS
The metal enrichment of passive galaxies in cosmological simulations of galaxy formationOkamoto et al. (2017)ADS
Angular momentum evolution of galaxies in EAGLELagos et al. (2017)ADS


The EAGLE project was made possible by the support of the following organisations:

Leiden University Durham University Virgo ERC