1,825 research outputs found

    The self-regulated AGN feedback loop: the role of chaotic cold accretion

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    Supermassive black hole accretion and feedback play central role in the evolution of galaxies, groups, and clusters. I review how AGN feedback is tightly coupled with the formation of multiphase gas and the newly probed chaotic cold accretion (CCA). In a turbulent and heated atmosphere, cold clouds and kpc-scale filaments condense out of the plasma via thermal instability and rain toward the black hole. In the nucleus, the recurrent chaotic collisions between the cold clouds, filaments, and central torus promote angular momentum cancellation or mixing, boosting the accretion rate up to 100 times the Bondi rate. The rapid variability triggers powerful AGN outflows, which quench the cooling flow and star formation without destroying the cool core. The AGN heating stifles the formation of multiphase gas and accretion, the feedback subsides and the hot halo is allowed to cool again, restarting a new cycle. Ultimately, CCA creates a symbiotic link between the black hole and the whole host via a tight self-regulated feedback which preserves the gaseous halo in global thermal equilibrium throughout cosmic time.Comment: 4 pages, 1 figure; accepted for publication (IAUS 319

    Chaotic cold accretion onto black holes

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    Using 3D AMR simulations, linking the 50 kpc to the sub-pc scales over the course of 40 Myr, we systematically relax the classic Bondi assumptions in a typical galaxy hosting a SMBH. In the realistic scenario, where the hot gas is cooling, while heated and stirred on large scales, the accretion rate is boosted up to two orders of magnitude compared with the Bondi prediction. The cause is the nonlinear growth of thermal instabilities, leading to the condensation of cold clouds and filaments when t_cool/t_ff < 10. Subsonic turbulence of just over 100 km/s (M > 0.2) induces the formation of thermal instabilities, even in the absence of heating, while in the transonic regime turbulent dissipation inhibits their growth (t_turb/t_cool < 1). When heating restores global thermodynamic balance, the formation of the multiphase medium is violent, and the mode of accretion is fully cold and chaotic. The recurrent collisions and tidal forces between clouds, filaments and the central clumpy torus promote angular momentum cancellation, hence boosting accretion. On sub-pc scales the clouds are channelled to the very centre via a funnel. A good approximation to the accretion rate is the cooling rate, which can be used as subgrid model, physically reproducing the boost factor of 100 required by cosmological simulations, while accounting for fluctuations. Chaotic cold accretion may be common in many systems, such as hot galactic halos, groups, and clusters, generating high-velocity clouds and strong variations of the AGN luminosity and jet orientation. In this mode, the black hole can quickly react to the state of the entire host galaxy, leading to efficient self-regulated AGN feedback and the symbiotic Magorrian relation. During phases of overheating, the hot mode becomes the single channel of accretion (with a different cuspy temperature profile), though strongly suppressed by turbulence.Comment: Accepted by MNRAS: added comments and references. Your feedback is welcom

    Chaotic cold accretion on to black holes in rotating atmospheres

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    Chaotic cold accretion (CCA) profoundly differs from classic black hole accretion models. Using 3D high-resolution simulations, we probe the impact of rotation on the hot and cold accretion flow in a typical massive galaxy. In the hot mode, with or without turbulence, the pressure-dominated flow forms a geometrically thick rotational barrier, suppressing the accretion rate to ~1/3 of the Bondi rate. When radiative cooling is dominant, the gas loses pressure support and quickly circularizes in a cold thin disk. In the more common state of a turbulent and heated atmosphere, CCA drives the dynamics if the gas velocity dispersion exceeds the rotational velocity, i.e., turbulent Taylor number < 1. Extended multiphase filaments condense out of the hot phase via thermal instability and rain toward the black hole, boosting the accretion rate up to 100 times the Bondi rate. Initially, turbulence broadens the angular momentum distribution of the hot gas, allowing the cold phase to condense with prograde or retrograde motion. Subsequent chaotic collisions between the cold filaments, clouds, and a clumpy variable torus promote the cancellation of angular momentum, leading to high accretion rates. The simulated sub-Eddington accretion rates cover the range inferred from AGN cavity observations. CCA predicts inner flat X-ray temperature and r1r^{-1} density profiles, as recently discovered in M 87 and NGC 3115. The synthetic H{\alpha} images reproduce the main features of cold gas observations in massive ellipticals, as the line fluxes and the filaments versus disk morphology. Such dichotomy is key for the long-term AGN feedback cycle. As gas cools, filamentary CCA develops and boosts AGN heating; the cold mode is thus reduced and the rotating disk remains the sole cold structure. Its consumption leaves the atmosphere in hot mode with suppressed accretion and feedback, reloading the cycle.Comment: 18 pages, 21 figures, published in A&A; fully revised version with new major results related to H{\alpha} and X-ray observation

    The Impact of Radio AGN Bubble Composition on the Dynamics and Thermal Balance of the Intracluster Medium

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    Feeding and feedback of active galactic nuclei (AGN) are critical for understanding the dynamics and thermodynamics of the intracluster medium (ICM) within the cores of galaxy clusters. While radio bubbles inflated by AGN jets could be dynamically supported by cosmic rays (CRs), the impact of CR-dominated jets are not well understood. In this work, we perform three-dimensional simulations of CR-jet feedback in an isolated cluster atmosphere; we find that CR jets impact the multiphase gas differently than jets dominated by kinetic energy. In particular, CR bubbles can more efficiently uplift the cluster gas and cause an outward expansion of the hot ICM. Due to adiabatic cooling from the expansion and less efficient heating from CR bubbles by direct mixing, the ICM is more prone to local thermal instabilities, which will later enhance chaotic cold accretion onto the AGN. The amount of cold gas formed during the bubble formation and its late-time evolution sensitively depend on whether CR transport processes are included or not. We also find that low-level, subsonic driving of turbulence by AGN jets holds for both kinetic and CR jets; nevertheless, the kinematics is consistent with the Hitomi measurements. Finally, we carefully discuss the key observable signatures of each bubble model, focusing on gamma-ray emission (and related comparison with Fermi), as well as thermal Sunyaev-Zel'dovich constraints.Comment: accepted to Ap

    Revisiting the Cooling Flow Problem in Galaxies, Groups, and Clusters of Galaxies

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    We present a study of 107 galaxies, groups, and clusters spanning ~3 orders of magnitude in mass, ~5 orders of magnitude in central galaxy star formation rate (SFR), ~4 orders of magnitude in the classical cooling rate (dM/dt) of the intracluster medium (ICM), and ~5 orders of magnitude in the central black hole accretion rate. For each system in this sample, we measure dM/dt using archival Chandra X-ray data and acquire the SFR and systematic uncertainty in the SFR by combining over 330 estimates from dozens of literature sources. With these data, we estimate the efficiency with which the ICM cools and forms stars, finding e_cool = SFR/(dM/dt) = 1.4 +/- 0.4% for systems with dM/dt > 30 Msun/yr. For these systems, we measure a slope in the SFR-dM/dt relation greater than unity, suggesting that the systems with the strongest cool cores are also cooling more efficiently. We propose that this may be related to, on average, higher black hole accretion rates in the strongest cool cores, which could influence the total amount (saturating near the Eddington rate) and dominant mode (mechanical vs radiative) of feedback. For systems with dM/dt < 30 Msun/yr, we find that the SFR and dM/dt are uncorrelated, and show that this is consistent with star formation being fueled at a low (but dominant) level by recycled ISM gas in these systems. We find an intrinsic log-normal scatter in SFR at fixed dM/dt of 0.52 +/- 0.06 dex, suggesting that cooling is tightly self-regulated over very long timescales, but can vary dramatically on short timescales. There is weak evidence that this scatter may be related to the feedback mechanism, with the scatter being minimized (~0.4 dex) in systems for which the mechanical feedback power is within a factor of two of the cooling luminosity.Comment: 16 pages, 10 figures, 6 tables. Submitted to ApJ. Comments welcome

    Shaping the X-ray spectrum of galaxy clusters with AGN feedback and turbulence

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    The hot plasma filling galaxy clusters emits copious X-ray radiation. The classic unheated and unperturbed cooling flow model predicts dramatic cooling rates and an isobaric X-ray spectrum with constant differential luminosity distribution. The observed cores of clusters (and groups) show instead a strong deficit of soft X-ray emission: dLx/dT(T/Thot)α=2±1dL_{\rm x}/dT \propto (T/T_{\rm hot})^{\alpha=2\pm1}. Using 3D hydrodynamic simulations, we show that such deficit arises from the tight self-regulation between thermal instability condensation and AGN outflow injection: condensing clouds boost the AGN outflows, which quench cooling as they thermalize through the core. The resultant average distribution slope is α2\alpha \simeq 2, oscillating within the observed 1<α<31<\alpha<3. In the absence of thermal instability, the X-ray spectrum remains isothermal (α>8\alpha > 8), while unopposed cooling drives a too shallow slope, α<1\alpha<1. AGN outflows deposit their energy inside-out, releasing more heat in the inner cooler phase; radially distributed heating alone induces a declining spectrum, 1<α<21<\alpha<2. Turbulence further steepens the spectrum and increases the scatter: the turbulent Mach number in the hot phase is subsonic, while it becomes transonic in the cooler phase, making perturbations to depart from the isobaric mode. Such increase in dlnP/dlnTd\ln P/d\ln T leads to α3\alpha\approx3. Self-regulated AGN outflow feedback can address the soft X-ray problem through the interplay of heating and turbulence.Comment: 5 pages, 2 figures, published in MNRAS Letter

    The relation between gas density and velocity power spectra in galaxy clusters: high-resolution hydrodynamic simulations and the role of conduction

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    Exploring the ICM power spectrum can help us to probe the physics of galaxy clusters. Using high-resolution 3D plasma simulations, we study the statistics of the velocity field and its relation with the thermodynamic perturbations. The normalization of the ICM spectrum (density, entropy, or pressure) is linearly tied to the level of large-scale motions, which excite both gravity and sound waves due to stratification. For low 3D Mach number M~0.25, gravity waves mainly drive entropy perturbations, traced by preferentially tangential turbulence. For M>0.5, sound waves start to significantly contribute, passing the leading role to compressive pressure fluctuations, associated with isotropic (or slightly radial) turbulence. Density and temperature fluctuations are then characterized by the dominant process: isobaric (low M), adiabatic (high M), or isothermal (strong conduction). Most clusters reside in the intermediate regime, showing a mixture of gravity and sound waves, hence drifting towards isotropic velocities. Remarkably, regardless of the regime, the variance of density perturbations is comparable to the 1D Mach number. This linear relation allows to easily convert between gas motions and ICM perturbations, which can be exploited by Chandra, XMM data and by the forthcoming Astro-H. At intermediate and small scales (10-100 kpc), the turbulent velocities develop a Kolmogorov cascade. The thermodynamic perturbations act as effective tracers of the velocity field, broadly consistent with the Kolmogorov-Obukhov-Corrsin advection theory. Thermal conduction acts to damp the gas fluctuations, washing out the filamentary structures and steepening the spectrum, while leaving unaltered the velocity cascade. The ratio of the velocity and density spectrum thus inverts the downtrend shown by the non-diffusive models, allowing to probe the presence of significant conductivity in the ICM.Comment: Accepted by A&A; 15 pages, 10 figures; added insights and references - thank you for the positive feedbac

    Dissecting the turbulent weather driven by mechanical AGN feedback

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    Turbulence in the intracluster, intragroup, and circumgalactic medium plays a crucial role in the self-regulated feeding and feedback loop of central supermassive black holes. We dissect the three-dimensional turbulent `weather' in a high-resolution Eulerian simulation of active galactic nucleus (AGN) feedback, shown to be consistent with multiple multi-wavelength observables of massive galaxies. We carry out post-processing simulations of Lagrangian tracers to track the evolution of enstrophy, a proxy of turbulence, and its related sinks and sources. This allows us to isolate in depth the physical processes that determine the evolution of turbulence during the recurring strong and weak AGN feedback events, which repeat self-similarly over the Gyr evolution. We find that the evolution of enstrophy/turbulence in the gaseous halo is highly dynamic and variable over small temporal and spatial scales, similar to the chaotic weather processes on Earth. We observe major correlations between the enstrophy amplification and recurrent AGN activity, especially via its kinetic power. While advective and baroclinc motions are always sub-dominant, stretching motions are the key sources of the amplification of enstrophy, in particular along the jet/cocoon, while rarefactions decrease it throughout the bulk of the volume. This natural self-regulation is able to preserve, as ensemble, the typically-observed subsonic turbulence during cosmic time, superposed by recurrent spikes via impulsive anisotropic AGN features (wide outflows, bubbles, cocoon shocks). This study facilitates the preparation and interpretation of the thermo-kinematical observations enabled by new revolutionary X-ray IFU telescopes, such as XRISM and Athena.Comment: 20 pages, 14 figures, published in MNRAS, we updated 4 figures, the main results remain unaffecte

    Linking Macro, Meso, and Micro Scales in Multiphase AGN Feeding and Feedback

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    Supermassive black hole (SMBH) feeding and feedback processes are often considered as disjoint and studied independently at different scales, both in observations and simulations. We encourage to adopt and unify three physically-motivated scales for feeding and feedback (micro - meso - macro ~ mpc - kpc - Mpc), linking them in a tight multiphase self-regulated loop. We pinpoint the key open questions related to this global SMBH unification problem, while advocating for the extension of novel mechanisms best observed in massive halos (such as chaotic cold accretion) down to low-mass systems. To solve such challenges, we provide a set of recommendations that promote a multiscale, multiwavelength, and interdisciplinary community.Comment: Published in Nature Astronomy (authors' version after final referee iteration

    Where does the gas fueling star formation in BCGs originate?

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    We investigate the relationship between X-ray cooling and star formation in brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs). We present an X-ray spectral analysis of the inner regions, 10-40 kpc, of six nearby cool core clusters (z<0.35) observed with Chandra ACIS. This sample is selected on the basis of the high star formation rate (SFR) observed in the BCGs. We restrict our search for cooling gas to regions that are roughly cospatial with the starburst. We fit single- and multi-temperature mkcflow models to constrain the amount of isobarically cooling intracluster medium (ICM). We find that in all clusters, below a threshold temperature ranging between 0.9 and 3 keV, only upper limits can be obtained. In four out of six objects, the upper limits are significantly below the SFR and in two, namely A1835 and A1068, they are less than a tenth of the SFR. Our results suggests that a number of mechanisms conspire to hide the cooling signature in our spectra. In a few systems the lack of a cooling signature may be attributed to a relatively long delay time between the X-ray cooling and the star burst. However, for A1835 and A1068, where the X-ray cooling time is shorter than the timescale of the starburst, a possible explanation is that the region where gas cools out of the X-ray phase extends to very large radii, likely beyond the core of these systems.Comment: to appear in A&
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