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Evidence of Runaway Gas Cooling in the Absence of Supermassive Black Hole Feedback at the Epoch of Cluster Formation

Hlavacek-Larrondo, J. and Rhea, C. L. and Webb, T. and McDonald, M. and Muzzin, A. and Wilson, G. and Finner, K. and Valin, F. and Bonaventura, N. and Cooper, M. and Fabian, A. C. and Gendron-Marsolais, M.-L. and Jee, M. J. and Lidman, C. and Mezcua, M. and Noble, A. and Russell, H. R. and Surace, J. and Trudeau, A. and Yee, H. K. C. (2020) Evidence of Runaway Gas Cooling in the Absence of Supermassive Black Hole Feedback at the Epoch of Cluster Formation. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 898 (2). Art. No. L50. ISSN 2041-8213. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/ab9ca5.

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Cosmological simulations, as well as mounting evidence from observations, have shown that supermassive black holes play a fundamental role in regulating the formation of stars throughout cosmic time. This has been clearly demonstrated in the case of galaxy clusters in which powerful feedback from the central black hole is preventing the hot intracluster gas from cooling catastrophically, thus reducing the expected star formation rates by orders of magnitude. These conclusions, however, have been almost entirely based on nearby clusters. Based on new Chandra X-ray observations, we present the first observational evidence for massive, runaway cooling occurring in the absence of supermassive black hole feedback in the high-redshift galaxy cluster SpARCS104922.6 + 564032.5 (z = 1.709). The hot intracluster gas appears to be fueling a massive burst of star formation (≈900 M⊙ yr⁻¹) that is offset by dozens of kpc from the central galaxy. The burst is co-spatial with the coolest intracluster gas but not associated with any galaxy in the cluster. In less than 100 million years, such runaway cooling can form the same amount of stars as in the Milky Way. Therefore, intracluster stars are not only produced by tidal stripping and the disruption of cluster galaxies, but can also be produced by runaway cooling of hot intracluster gas at early times. Overall, these observations show the dramatic impact when supermassive black hole feedback fails to operate in clusters. They indicate that in the highest overdensities, such as clusters and protoclusters, runaway cooling may be a new and important mechanism for fueling massive bursts of star formation in the early universe.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Hlavacek-Larrondo, J.0000-0001-7271-7340
Rhea, C. L.0000-0003-2001-1076
Muzzin, A.0000-0002-9330-9108
Cooper, M.0000-0003-1371-6019
Fabian, A. C.0000-0002-9378-4072
Gendron-Marsolais, M.-L.0000-0002-7326-5793
Lidman, C.0000-0003-1731-0497
Mezcua, M.0000-0003-4440-259X
Noble, A.0000-0003-1832-4137
Surace, J.0000-0001-7291-0087
Additional Information:© 2020 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2020 April 8; revised 2020 June 8; accepted 2020 June 13; published 2020 August 3. J.H.-L. acknowledges support from NSERC via the Discovery grant program, as well as the Canada Research Chair program. C.R. acknowledges financial support from the physics department of the Université de Montréal. G.W. acknowledges support from the National Science Foundation through grant AST-1517863, by HST program number GO-15294, and by grant number 80NSSC17K0019 issued through the NASA Astrophysics Data Analysis Program (ADAP). Support for program number GO-15294 was provided by NASA through a grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Incorporated, under NASA contract NAS5-26555. M.J.J. acknowledges support for the current research from the National Research Foundation of Korea under the programs 2017R1A2B2004644 and 2020R1A4A2002885. H.R.R. acknowledges support from an STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellowship and an Anne McLaren Fellowship. We also greatly thank the anonymous referees that provided the first reports when submitted to the initial journal, as well as the anonymous referee in the final journal. A.T. is supported by the NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship-Doctoral Program.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)UNSPECIFIED
Canada Research Chairs ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Université de MontréalUNSPECIFIED
National Research Foundation of Korea2017R1A2B2004644
National Research Foundation of Korea2020R1A4A2002885
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)UNSPECIFIED
Anne McLaren FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:High-redshift galaxy clusters ; Supermassive black holes ; Cooling flows ; Intracluster medium ; X-ray observatories
Issue or Number:2
Classification Code:Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: High-redshift galaxy clusters (2007); Supermassive black holes (1663); Cooling flows (2028); Intracluster medium (858); X-ray observatories (1819)
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20200803-122222162
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:J. Hlavacek-Larrondo et al 2020 ApJL 898 L50
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:104702
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:03 Aug 2020 20:27
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 18:34

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