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Cosmological Simulations of Quasar Fueling to Subparsec Scales Using Lagrangian Hyper-refinement

Anglés-Alcázar, Daniel and Quataert, Eliot and Hopkins, Philip F. and Somerville, Rachel S. and Hayward, Christopher C. and Faucher-Giguère, Claude-André and Bryan, Greg L. and Kereš, Dušan and Hernquist, Lars and Stone, James M. (2021) Cosmological Simulations of Quasar Fueling to Subparsec Scales Using Lagrangian Hyper-refinement. Astrophysical Journal, 917 (2). Art. No. 53. ISSN 0004-637X. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ac09e8.

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We present cosmological hydrodynamic simulations of a quasar-mass halo (M_(halo) ≈ 10^(12.5) M_⊙ at z = 2) that for the first time resolve gas transport down to the inner 0.1 pc surrounding the central massive black hole. We model a multiphase interstellar medium including stellar feedback by supernovae, stellar winds, and radiation, and a hyper-Lagrangian refinement technique increasing the resolution dynamically approaching the black hole. We do not include black hole feedback. We show that the subpc inflow rate (1) can reach ∼6 M_⊙ yr⁻¹ roughly in steady state during the epoch of peak nuclear gas density (z ∼ 2), sufficient to power a luminous quasar, (2) is highly time variable in the pre-quasar phase, spanning 0.001–10 M_⊙ yr⁻¹ on Myr timescales, and (3) is limited to short (∼2 Myr) active phases (0.01–0.1 M_⊙ yr⁻¹) followed by longer periods of inactivity at lower nuclear gas density and late times (z ∼ 1), owing to the formation of a hot central cavity. Inflowing gas is primarily cool, rotational support dominates over turbulence and thermal pressure, and star formation can consume as much gas as provided by inflows across 1 pc–10 kpc. Gravitational torques from multiscale stellar non-axisymmetries dominate angular momentum transport over gas self-torquing and pressure gradients, with accretion weakly dependent on black hole mass. Subpc inflow rates correlate with nuclear (but decouple from global) star formation and can exceed the Eddington rate by ×10. The black hole can move ∼10 pc from the galaxy center on ∼0.1 Myr. Accreting gas forms pc-scale, rotationally supported, obscuring structures often misaligned with the galaxy-scale disk. These simulations open a new avenue to investigate black hole–galaxy coevolution.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Anglés-Alcázar, Daniel0000-0001-5769-4945
Quataert, Eliot0000-0001-9185-5044
Hopkins, Philip F.0000-0003-3729-1684
Somerville, Rachel S.0000-0003-2835-8533
Hayward, Christopher C.0000-0003-4073-3236
Faucher-Giguère, Claude-André0000-0002-4900-6628
Bryan, Greg L.0000-0003-2630-9228
Kereš, Dušan0000-0002-1666-7067
Hernquist, Lars0000-0001-6950-1629
Stone, James M.0000-0001-5603-1832
Alternate Title:Cosmological simulations of quasar fueling to sub-parsec scales using Lagrangian hyper-refinement
Additional Information:© 2021. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2020 August 26; revised 2021 April 26; accepted 2021 June 8; published 2021 August 17. We thank Ena Choi, Romeel Davé Robert Feldmann, John Forbes, Shy Genel, Melanie Habouzit, Yan-Fei Jiang, Yuan Li, Xiangcheng Ma, Eve Ostriker, Roxana Pop, Julissa Rojas-Sandoval, Matthew Smith, Tjitske Starkenburg, Kung-Yi Su, Paul Torrey, Rainer Weinberger, and Sarah Wellons for many insightful discussions and suggestions during the development of this work. We thank the referee for a detailed and constructive review that helped improve the paper. We acknowledge outstanding support by the Scientific Computing Core group and the Center for Computational Astrophysics at the Flatiron Institute as part of the SMAUG project, which are supported by the Simons Foundation. D.A.A. was supported in part by NSF grant AST-2009687. E.Q. was supported in part by a Simons Investigator Award from the Simons Foundation and by NSF grant AST-1715070. Support for P.F.H. was provided by NSF Collaborative Research Grants 1715847 & 1911233, NSF CAREER grant 1455342, NASA grants 80NSSC18K0562, JPL 1589742. C.A.F.G. was supported by NSF through grants AST-1517491, AST-1715216, and CAREER award AST-1652522; by NASA through grant 17-ATP17-0067; and by a Cottrell Scholar Award and a Scialog Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. G.L.B. was supported in part by the NSF through grants OAC-1835509 and AST-2006176, as well as support from the STScI under NASA contract NAS5-26555. D.K. was supported by NSF grant AST-1715101 and the Cottrell Scholar Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. The simulations were run on Flatiron Institute's research computing facilities (Gordon-Simons, Popeye, and Iron compute clusters), supported by the Simons Foundation, and XSEDE allocation TG-AST160048, supported by NSF grant ACI-1053575. Additional numerical calculations were run on the Caltech compute cluster "Wheeler," allocations FTA-Hopkins supported by the NSF and TACC, and NASA HEC SMD-16-7592.
Group:Astronomy Department, TAPIR
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Simons FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Cottrell Scholar of Research CorporationUNSPECIFIED
Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:AGN host galaxies; Quasars; Galaxy nuclei; Galaxy formation; Galaxy evolution; Cosmological evolution; Black hole physics; Supermassive black holes
Issue or Number:2
Classification Code:Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: AGN host galaxies (2017); Quasars (1319); Galaxy nuclei (609); Galaxy formation (595); Galaxy evolution (594); Cosmological evolution (336); Black hole physics (159); Supermassive black holes (1663)
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210914-225356647
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Official Citation:Daniel Anglés-Alcázar et al 2021 ApJ 917 53
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:110888
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:15 Sep 2021 19:19
Last Modified:15 Sep 2021 19:19

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