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Which AGN jets quench star formation in massive galaxies?

Su, Kung-Yi and Hopkins, Philip F. and Bryan, Greg L. and Somerville, Rachel S. and Hayward, Christopher C. and Anglés-Alcázar, Daniel and Faucher-Giguère, Claude-André and Wellons, Sarah and Stern, Jonathan and Terrazas, Bryan A. and Chan, T. K. and Orr, Matthew E. and Hummels, Cameron and Feldmann, Robert and Kereš, Dušan (2021) Which AGN jets quench star formation in massive galaxies? Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 507 (1). pp. 175-204. ISSN 0035-8711. doi:10.1093/mnras/stab2021.

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Without additional heating, radiative cooling of the halo gas of massive galaxies (Milky Way-mass and above) produces cold gas or stars exceeding that observed. Heating from active galactic nucleus (AGN) jets is likely required, but the jet properties remain unclear. This is particularly challenging for galaxy simulations, where the resolution is orders-of-magnitude insufficient to resolve jet formation and evolution. On such scales, the uncertain parameters include the jet energy form [kinetic, thermal, cosmic ray (CR)]; energy, momentum, and mass flux; magnetic fields; opening angle; precession; and duty cycle. We investigate these parameters in a 10¹⁴M⊙ halo using high-resolution non-cosmological magnetohydrodynamic simulations with the FIRE-2 (Feedback In Realistic Environments) stellar feedback model, conduction, and viscosity. We explore which scenarios qualitatively meet observational constraints on the halo gas and show that CR-dominated jets most efficiently quench the galaxy by providing CR pressure support and modifying the thermal instability. Mildly relativistic (∼MeV or ∼10¹⁰K) thermal plasma jets work but require ∼10 times larger energy input. For fixed energy flux, jets with higher specific energy (longer cooling times) quench more effectively. For this halo mass, kinetic jets are inefficient at quenching unless they have wide opening or precession angles. Magnetic fields also matter less except when the magnetic energy flux reaches ≳ 10⁴⁴ erg s⁻¹ in a kinetic jet model, which significantly widens the jet cocoon. The criteria for a successful jet model are an optimal energy flux and a sufficiently wide jet cocoon with a long enough cooling time at the cooling radius.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper ItemGIZMO Code
Su, Kung-Yi0000-0003-1598-0083
Hopkins, Philip F.0000-0003-3729-1684
Bryan, Greg L.0000-0003-2630-9228
Somerville, Rachel S.0000-0003-2835-8533
Hayward, Christopher C.0000-0003-4073-3236
Anglés-Alcázar, Daniel0000-0001-5769-4945
Faucher-Giguère, Claude-André0000-0002-4900-6628
Wellons, Sarah0000-0002-3977-2724
Stern, Jonathan0000-0002-7541-9565
Terrazas, Bryan A.0000-0001-5529-7305
Chan, T. K.0000-0003-2544-054X
Orr, Matthew E.0000-0003-1053-3081
Hummels, Cameron0000-0002-3817-8133
Feldmann, Robert0000-0002-1109-1919
Kereš, Dušan0000-0002-1666-7067
Additional Information:© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Astronomical Society. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model ( Accepted 2021 July 10. Received 2021 July 9; in original form 2021 February 3. Published: 19 July 2021. We thank Eliot Quataert for useful discussion. KS acknowledges financial support from the Simons Foundation. We thank Lucy Reading-Ikkanda for preparing the summarizing cartoon Figure (Fig. 7). Support for PFH and co-authors was provided by an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, NSF Collaborative Research Grant #1715847, and CAREER grant #1455342, and NASA grants NNX15AT06G, JPL 1589742, 17-ATP17-0214. GLB acknowledges financial support from the NSF (grant AST-1615955, OAC-1835509, AST-2006176) and computing support from NSF XSEDE. RSS, CCH, and DAA were supported by the Simons Foundation through the Flatiron Institute. DAA was supported by NSF grant AST-2009687. CAFG was supported by NSF through grants 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. RF acknowledges financial support from the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant no 194814). DK was supported by NSF grant AST-1715101 and the Cottrell Scholar Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. TKC is supported by Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) astronomy consolidated grant ST/T000244/1. Numerical calculations were run on the Flatiron Institute cluster ‘popeye’ and ‘rusty’, Caltech cluster ‘Wheeler’, allocations from XSEDE TG-AST120025, TG-AST130039, and PRAC NSF.1713353 supported by the NSF, and NASA HEC SMD-16-7592. This work was carried out as part of the FIRE project and in collaboration with the SMAUG collaboration. SMAUG gratefully acknowledges support from the Center for Computational Astrophysics at the Flatiron Institute, which is supported by the Simons Foundation. Data Availability Statement: The data supporting the plots within this article are available on reasonable request to the corresponding author. A public version of the gizmo code is available at
Group:Astronomy Department, TAPIR
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Simons FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Flatiron InstituteUNSPECIFIED
Cottrell Scholar of Research CorporationUNSPECIFIED
Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)194814
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)ST/T000244/1
Subject Keywords:turbulence –methods: numerical – cosmic rays – galaxies: clusters: intracluster medium – galaxies: jets – galaxies: magnetic fields
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20211020-174301603
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Kung-Yi Su, Philip F Hopkins, Greg L Bryan, Rachel S Somerville, Christopher C Hayward, Daniel Anglés-Alcázar, Claude-André Faucher-Giguère, Sarah Wellons, Jonathan Stern, Bryan A Terrazas, T K Chan, Matthew E Orr, Cameron Hummels, Robert Feldmann, Dušan Kereš, Which AGN jets quench star formation in massive galaxies?, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 507, Issue 1, October 2021, Pages 175–204,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:111556
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:20 Oct 2021 22:47
Last Modified:21 Oct 2021 16:37

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