110 research outputs found

    Hydrodynamical simulations of cluster formation with central AGN heating

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    We analyse a hydrodynamical simulation model for the recurrent heating of the central intracluster medium (ICM) by active galactic nuclei (AGN). Besides the self-gravity of the dark matter and gas components, our approach includes the radiative cooling and photoheating of the gas, as well as a subresolution multiphase model for star formation and supernova feedback. Additionally, we incorporate a periodic heating mechanism in the form of hot, buoyant bubbles, injected into the intragalactic medium (IGM) during the active phases of the accreting central AGN. We use simulations of isolated cluster halos of different masses to study the bubble dynamics and the heat transport into the IGM. We also apply our model to self-consistent cosmological simulations of the formation of galaxy clusters with a range of masses. Our numerical schemes explore a variety of different assumptions for the spatial configuration of AGN-driven bubbles, for their duty cycles and for the energy injection mechanism, in order to obtain better constraints on the underlying physical picture. We argue that AGN heating can substantially affect the properties of both the stellar and gaseous components of clusters of galaxies. Most importantly, it alters the properties of the central dominant (cD) galaxy by reducing the mass deposition rate of freshly cooled gas out of the ICM, thereby offering an energetically plausible solution to the cooling flow problem. At the same time, this leads to reduced or eliminated star formation in the central cD galaxy, giving it red stellar colours as observed.Comment: 22 pages, 15 figures, minor revisions, MNRAS accepte

    Intracluster stars in simulations with AGN feedback

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    We use a set of high-resolution hydrodynamical simulations of clusters of galaxies to study the build-up of the intracluster light (ICL), an interesting and likely significant component of their total stellar mass. Our sample of groups and clusters includes AGN feedback and is of high enough resolution to accurately resolve galaxy populations down to the smallest galaxies that are expected to significantly contribute to the stellar mass budget. We describe and test four different methods to identify the ICL in simulations, thereby allowing us to assess the reliability of the measurements. For all of the methods, we consistently find a very significant ICL stellar fraction (~45%) which exceeds the values typically inferred from observations. However, we show that this result is robust with respect to numerical resolution and integration accuracy, remarkably insensitive to changes in the star formation model, and almost independent of halo mass. It is also almost invariant when black hole growth is included, even though AGN feedback successfully prevents excessive overcooling in clusters and leads to a drastically improved agreement of the simulated cluster galaxy population with observations. In particular, the luminosities of central galaxies and the ages of their stellar populations are much more realistic when including AGN. In the light of these findings, it appears challenging to construct a simulation model that simultaneously matches the cluster galaxy population and at the same time produces a low ICL component. We find that intracluster stars are preferentially stripped in a cluster's densest region from massive galaxies that fall into the cluster at z>1. Surprisingly, some of the intracluster stars also form in the intracluster medium inside cold gas clouds that are stripped out of infalling galaxies.Comment: 17 pages, 16 figures, submitted to MNRA

    The role of AGN feedback and gas viscosity in hydrodynamical simulations of galaxy clusters

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    We study the imprints of AGN feedback and physical viscosity on the properties of galaxy clusters using hydrodynamical simulation models carried out with the TreeSPH code GADGET-2. Besides self-gravity of dark matter and baryons, our approach includes radiative cooling and heating processes of the gas component and a multiphase model for star formation and SNe feedback. Additionally, we introduce a prescription for physical viscosity in GADGET-2, based on a SPH discretization of the Navier-Stokes and general heat transfer equations. Adopting the Braginskii parameterization for the shear viscosity coefficient, we explore how gas viscosity influences the properties of AGN-driven bubbles. We also introduce a novel, self-consistent AGN feedback model where we simultaneously follow the growth and energy release of massive black holes embedded in a cluster environment. We assume that black holes accreting at low rates with respect to the Eddington limit are in a radiatively inefficient regime, and that most of the feedback energy will appear in a mechanical form. Thus, we introduce AGN-driven bubbles into the ICM with properties, such as radius and energy content, that are directly linked to the black hole physics. This model leads to a self-regulated mechanism for the black hole growth and overcomes the cooling flow problem in host halos, ranging from the scale of groups to that of massive clusters. (Abridged)Comment: 6 pages, 4 figures. To appear in the Proceedings of "Heating vs. Cooling in Galaxies and Clusters of Galaxies", August 2006, Garching (Germany

    Non gravitational heating mechanisms in galaxy clusters

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    The study of the formation and growth of cosmic structures is one of the most fascinating and challenging fields of astrophysics. In the currently favoured cosmological model, the so-called LCDM cosmogony, dark matter structures grow hierarchically, with small clumps forming first at very early epochs. The merging of these dark matter halos in the following evolution leads to the formation of more massive objects with time, ultimately resulting in a complex cosmic web composed of filaments of dark matter and galaxies, rich galaxy clusters, and voids in between. While we have some knowledge how these dark matter structures evolve with cosmic time, the relationship between the "dark" and the "luminous" content of the Universe is still far from being fully understood and it poses many puzzling questions, both for observational and theoretical investigations. Galaxy clusters, the largest virialized objects in the Universe, are especially interesting for cosmological studies because they are ideal laboratories to study the physical processes relevant in structure formation, like those that shape the properties of galaxies, the intergalactic and intracluster media, and the active galactic nuclei (AGN) that originate from super-massive black holes (BHs) in cluster centres. The study of clusters is remarkably promising right now, both because of the wealth of new data from X-ray telescopes such as XMM-Newton and Chandra or from optical surveys such as SDSS, and also due to the increasing power of cosmological simulations as a theoretical tool. The latter can track the growth of cosmological structures far into the highly non-linear regime, and have recently become faithful enough to include for the first time physical processes such as AGN activity and its effect on galaxy evolution. Therefore the aim of this Thesis was to incorporate AGN heating process in fully self-consistent cosmological simulations of structure formation, and to constrain the relevance of this feedback mechanism for galaxy and galaxy cluster formation and evolution

    A physical model for cosmological simulations of galaxy formation: multi-epoch validation

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    We present a multi-epoch analysis of the galaxy populations formed within the cosmological hydrodynamical simulations presented in Vogelsberger et al. (2013). These simulations explore the performance of a recently implemented feedback model which includes primordial and metal line radiative cooling with self-shielding corrections; stellar evolution with associated mass loss and chemical enrichment; feedback by stellar winds; black hole seeding, growth and merging; and AGN quasar- and radio-mode heating with a phenomenological prescription for AGN electro-magnetic feedback. We illustrate the impact of the model parameter choices on the resulting simulated galaxy population properties at high and intermediate redshifts. We demonstrate that our scheme is capable of producing galaxy populations that broadly reproduce the observed galaxy stellar mass function extending from redshift z=0 to z=3. We also characterise the evolving galactic B-band luminosity function, stellar mass to halo mass ratio, star formation main sequence, Tully-Fisher relation, and gas-phase mass-metallicity relation and confront them against recent observational estimates. This detailed comparison allows us to validate elements of our feedback model, while also identifying areas of tension that will be addressed in future work.Comment: 22 pages, 10 figures, submitted to MNRAS. Volume-rendering movies and high-resolution images can be found at http://www.cfa.harvard.edu/itc/research/arepogal

    Following the flow: tracer particles in astrophysical fluid simulations

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    We present two numerical schemes for passive tracer particles in the hydrodynamical moving-mesh code AREPO, and compare their performance for various problems, from simple setups to cosmological simulations. The purpose of tracer particles is to allow the flow to be followed in a Lagrangian way, tracing the evolution of the fluid with time, and allowing the thermodynamical history of individual fluid parcels to be recorded. We find that the commonly-used `velocity field tracers', which are advected using the fluid velocity field, do not in general follow the mass flow correctly, and explain why this is the case. This method can result in orders-of-magnitude biases in simulations of driven turbulence and in cosmological simulations, rendering the velocity field tracers inappropriate for following these flows. We then discuss a novel implementation of `Monte Carlo tracers', which are moved along with fluid cells, and are exchanged probabilistically between them following the mass flux. This method reproduces the mass distribution of the fluid correctly. The main limitation of this approach is that it is more diffusive than the fluid itself. Nonetheless, we show that this novel approach is more reliable than what has been employed previously and demonstrate that it is appropriate for following hydrodynamical flows in mesh-based codes. The Monte Carlo tracers can also naturally be transferred between fluid cells and other types of particles, such as stellar particles, so that the mass flow in cosmological simulations can be followed in its entirety.Comment: Accepted for publication in MNRAS, minor updates to match accepted version. 19 pages, 14 figure
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