I will present results from the Latte suite of cosmological zoom-in baryonic simulations that model the formation of Milky Way-like galaxies at parsec-scale resolution, using the FIRE (Feedback in Realistic Environments) model for star formation and feedback. First I will discuss the formation of the Milky Way, including the origin of its thin+thick stellar disk morphology and new insights into the elemental abundances of its stellar populations. The Latte simulations also self-consistently resolve the formation of satellite dwarf galaxies around each Milky Way-like host. These low-mass “dwarf” galaxies trace structure formation on the smallest cosmological scales and have presented the most significant challenges to the cold dark matter (CDM) model. I will show progress in addressing the “missing satellites” and “too-big-to-fail” problems of CDM cosmology, and in modeling elemental abundances in these dwarf galaxies.
Host: Anna Frebel