Solving the cooling flow problem through mechanical AGN feedback

Gaspari, Massimo (2012) Solving the cooling flow problem through mechanical AGN feedback, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Astronomia, 24 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/4457.
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A fundamental gap in the current understanding of collapsed structures in the universe concerns the thermodynamical evolution of the ordinary, baryonic component. Unopposed radiative cooling of plasma would lead to the cooling catastrophe, a massive inflow of condensing gas toward the centre of galaxies, groups and clusters. The last generation of multiwavelength observations has radically changed our view on baryons, suggesting that the heating linked to the active galactic nucleus (AGN) may be the balancing counterpart of cooling. In this Thesis, I investigate the engine of the heating regulated by the central black hole. I argue that the mechanical feedback, based on massive subrelativistic outflows, is the key to solving the cooling flow problem, i.e. dramatically quenching the cooling rates for several billion years without destroying the cool-core structure. Using an upgraded version of the parallel 3D hydrodynamic code FLASH, I show that anisotropic AGN outflows can further reproduce fundamental observed features, such as buoyant bubbles, cocoon shocks, sonic ripples, metals dredge-up, and subsonic turbulence. The latter is an essential ingredient to drive nonlinear thermal instabilities, which cause cold gas condensation, a residual of the quenched cooling flow and, later, fuel for the AGN feedback engine. The self-regulated outflows are systematically tested on the scales of massive clusters, groups and isolated elliptical galaxies: in lighter less bound objects the feedback needs to be gentler and less efficient, in order to avoid drastic overheating. In this Thesis, I describe in depth the complex hydrodynamics, involving the coupling of the feedback energy to that of the surrounding hot medium. Finally, I present the merits and flaws of all the proposed models, with a critical eye toward observational concordance.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Gaspari, Massimo
Dottorato di ricerca
Scuola di dottorato
Scienze matematiche, fisiche ed astronomiche
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
cooling flows hydrodynamics simulations AGN outflows jets feedback galaxies groups clusters plasma
Data di discussione
13 Aprile 2012

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