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The impact of AGN wind feedback in simulations of isolated galaxies with a multiphase ISM

Torrey, Paul and Hopkins, Philip F. and Faucher-Giguère, Claude-André and Anglés-Alcázar, Daniel and Quataert, Eliot and Ma, Xiangcheng and Feldmann, Robert and Keres, Dusan and Murray, Norm (2020) The impact of AGN wind feedback in simulations of isolated galaxies with a multiphase ISM. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 497 (4). pp. 5292-5308. ISSN 0035-8711.

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Accreting black holes can drive fast and energetic nuclear winds that may be an important feedback mechanism associated with active galactic nuclei (AGN). In this paper, we implement a scheme for capturing feedback from these fast nuclear winds and examine their impact in simulations of isolated disc galaxies. Stellar feedback is modelled using the Feedback In Realistic Environments (FIRE) physics and produces a realistic multiphase interstellar medium (ISM). We find that AGN winds drive the formation of a low-density, high-temperature central gas cavity that is broadly consistent with analytic model expectations. The effects of AGN feedback on the host galaxy are a strong function of the wind kinetic power and momentum. Low- and moderate-luminosity AGN do not have a significant effect on their host galaxy: the AGN winds inefficiently couple to the ambient ISM and instead a significant fraction of their energy vents in the polar direction. For such massive black holes, accretion near the Eddington limit can have a dramatic impact on the host galaxy ISM: if AGN wind feedback acts for ≳20–30 Myr, the inner ∼1–10 kpc of the ISM is disrupted and the global galaxy star formation rate is significantly reduced. We quantify the properties of the resulting galaxy-scale outflows and find that the radial momentum in the outflow is boosted by a factor of ∼2–3 relative to that initially supplied in the AGN wind for strong feedback scenarios, decreasing below unity for less energetic winds. In contrast to observations, however, the outflows are primarily hot, with very little atomic or molecular gas. We conjecture that merging galaxies and high-redshift galaxies, which have more turbulent and thicker discs and very different nuclear gas geometries, may be even more disrupted by AGN winds than found in our simulations.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Torrey, Paul0000-0002-5653-0786
Hopkins, Philip F.0000-0003-3729-1684
Faucher-Giguère, Claude-André0000-0002-4900-6628
Anglés-Alcázar, Daniel0000-0001-5769-4945
Quataert, Eliot0000-0001-9185-5044
Ma, Xiangcheng0000-0001-8091-2349
Feldmann, Robert0000-0002-1109-1919
Keres, Dusan0000-0002-1666-7067
Additional Information:© 2020 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model ( Accepted 2020 July 20. in original form 2020 June 24. We thank Alexander Richings for useful discussions. PT was supported by NSF through grant AST-1909933 and NASA ATP Grant 19-ATP19-0031. Support for PFH was provided by an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, NASA ATP Grant NNX14AH35G, NSF Collaborative Research Grant #1411920, and CAREER grant #1455342. C-AF-G was supported by NSF through grants AST-1517491, AST-1715216, and CAREER award AST-1652522, by NASA through grant 17-ATP17-0067, by CXO through grant TM7-18007, and by a Cottrell Scholar Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. DK was supported by NSF grant AST-1715101 and the Cottrell Scholar Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. This work was supported in part by a Simons Investigator Award from the Simons Foundation (EQ) and by NSF grant AST-1715070. RF acknowledges financial support from the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant no. 157591). This research was undertaken, in part, thanks to funding from the Canada Research Chairs program. The simulations reported in this paper were run and processed on the ‘Quest’ computer cluster at Northwestern University, the Caltech compute cluster ‘Zwicky’ (NSF MRI award #PHY-0960291), and allocation TG-AST130039, TG-AST150059, and TG-AST140076 granted by the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) supported by the NSF (Towns et al. 2014). DATA AVAILABILITY. The data underlying this paper will be shared on reasonable request to the corresponding author.
Group:Astronomy Department, TAPIR
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Cottrell Scholar of Research CorporationUNSPECIFIED
Simons FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)157591
Canada Research Chairs ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:galaxies: evolution, galaxies: ISM, galaxies: nuclei, quasars: supermassive black holes
Issue or Number:4
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20201209-153310187
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Paul Torrey, Philip F Hopkins, Claude-André Faucher-Giguère, Daniel Anglés-Alcázar, Eliot Quataert, Xiangcheng Ma, Robert Feldmann, Dusan Keres, Norm Murray, The impact of AGN wind feedback in simulations of isolated galaxies with a multiphase ISM, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 497, Issue 4, October 2020, Pages 5292–5308,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:106999
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:10 Dec 2020 15:12
Last Modified:10 Dec 2020 15:12

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