skip to main content

Title: Unravelling the physics of multiphase AGN winds through emission line tracers
ABSTRACT Observations of emission lines in active galactic nuclei (AGNs) often find fast (∼1000 km s−1) outflows extending to kiloparsec scales, seen in ionized, neutral atomic and molecular gas. In this work we present radiative transfer calculations of emission lines in hydrodynamic simulations of AGN outflows driven by a hot wind bubble, including non-equilibrium chemistry, to explore how these lines trace the physical properties of the multiphase outflow. We find that the hot bubble compresses the line-emitting gas, resulting in higher pressures than in the ambient interstellar medium or that would be produced by the AGN radiation pressure. This implies that observed emission line ratios such as [O iv]$_{25 \, \rm {\mu m}}$ / [Ne ii]$_{12 \, \rm {\mu m}}$, [Ne v]$_{14 \, \rm {\mu m}}$ / [Ne ii]$_{12 \, \rm {\mu m}}$, and [N iii]$_{57 \, \rm {\mu m}}$ / [N ii]$_{122 \, \rm {\mu m}}$ constrain the presence of the bubble and hence the outflow driving mechanism. However, the line-emitting gas is under-pressurized compared to the hot bubble itself, and much of the line emission arises from gas that is out of pressure, thermal and/or chemical equilibrium. Our results thus suggest that assuming equilibrium conditions, as commonly done in AGN line emission models, is not justified more » if a hot wind bubble is present. We also find that ≳50 per cent of the mass outflow rate, momentum flux, and kinetic energy flux of the outflow are traced by lines such as [N ii]$_{122 \, \rm {\mu m}}$ and [Ne iii]$_{15 \, \rm {\mu m}}$ (produced in the 10$^{4} \, \rm {K}$ phase) and [C ii]$_{158 \, \rm {\mu m}}$ (produced in the transition from 10$^{4} \, \rm {K}$ to 100 K). « less
; ;
Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
1568 to 1585
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this

    We study the gas distribution and kinematics of the inner kpc of six moderately luminous (43.43 ≤ log Lbol ≤ 44.83) nearby (0.004 ≤ z ≤ 0.014) Seyfert galaxies observed with the Near-infrared Integral Field Spectrograph (NIFS) in the J ($1.25\,\mu$m) and K ($2.2\,\mu$m) bands. We analyse the most intense emission lines detected on these spectral wavebands: [Fe ii] $1.2570\, \mu$m and Paβ, which trace the ionized gas in the partially and fully ionized regions, and $\mathrm{ H}_2 \ 2.1218\, \mu$m, which traces the hot (∼2000 K) molecular gas. The dominant kinematic component is rotation in the disc of the galaxies, except for the ionized gas in NGC 5899 that shows only weak signatures of a disc component. We find ionized gas outflow in four galaxies, while signatures of H2 outflows are seen in three galaxies. The ionized gas outflows display velocities of a few hundred km s−1, and their mass outflow rates are in the range 0.005–12.49 M⊙ yr−1. Their kinetic powers correspond to 0.005–0.7 per cent of the active galactic nuclei (AGN) bolometric luminosities. Besides rotation and outflows signatures in some cases, the H2 kinematics also reveals inflows in three galaxies. The inflow velocities are 50–80 km s−1 and the mass inflow rates are in the range 1–9 × 10−4 M⊙ yr−1 formore »hot molecular gas. These inflows might be only the hot skin of the total inflowing gas, which is expected to be dominated by colder gas. The mass inflow rates are lower than the current accretion rates to the AGN, and the ionized outflows are apparently disturbing the gas in the inner kpc.

    « less

    Interstellar chemistry is important for galaxy formation, as it determines the rate at which gas can cool, and enables us to make predictions for observable spectroscopic lines from ions and molecules. We explore two central aspects of modelling the chemistry of the interstellar medium (ISM): (1) the effects of local stellar radiation, which ionizes and heats the gas, and (2) the depletion of metals on to dust grains, which reduces the abundance of metals in the gas phase. We run high-resolution (400 M⊙ per baryonic particle) simulations of isolated disc galaxies, from dwarfs to Milky Way-mass, using the fire galaxy formation models together with the chimes non-equilibrium chemistry and cooling module. In our fiducial model, we couple the chemistry to the stellar fluxes calculated from star particles using an approximate radiative transfer scheme; and we implement an empirical density-dependent prescription for metal depletion. For comparison, we also run simulations with a spatially uniform radiation field, and without metal depletion. Our fiducial model broadly reproduces observed trends in H i and H2 mass with stellar mass, and in line luminosity versus star formation rate for [C ii]$_{158 \rm {\mu m}}$, [O i]$_{63 \rm {\mu m}}$, [O iii]$_{88 \rm {\mu m}}$, [N ii]$_{122 \rm {\mu m}}$, andmore »H α6563Å. Our simulations with a uniform radiation field predict fainter luminosities, by up to an order of magnitude for [O iii]$_{88 \rm {\mu m}}$ and H α6563Å, while ignoring metal depletion increases the luminosity of carbon and oxygen lines by a factor ≈ 2. However, the overall evolution of the galaxy is not strongly affected by local stellar fluxes or metal depletion, except in dwarf galaxies where the inclusion of local fluxes leads to weaker outflows and hence higher gas fractions.

    « less
  3. Abstract

    We study the ionization and excitation structure of the interstellar medium in the late-stage gas-rich galaxy merger NGC 6240 using a suite of emission-line maps at ∼25 pc resolution from the Hubble Space Telescope, Keck/NIRC2 with Adaptive Optics, and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). NGC 6240 hosts a superwind driven by intense star formation and/or one or both of two active nuclei; the outflows produce bubbles and filaments seen in shock tracers from warm molecular gas (H22.12μm) to optical ionized gas ([Oiii], [Nii], [Sii], and [Oi]) and hot plasma (FeXXV). In the most distinct bubble, we see a clear shock front traced by high [Oiii]/Hβand [Oiii]/[Oi]. Cool molecular gas (CO(2−1)) is only present near the base of the bubble, toward the nuclei launching the outflow. We interpret the lack of molecular gas outside the bubble to mean that the shock front is not responsible for dissociating molecular gas, and conclude that the molecular clouds are partly shielded and either entrained briefly in the outflow, or left undisturbed while the hot wind flows around them. Elsewhere in the galaxy, shock-excited H2extends at least ∼4 kpc from the nuclei, tracing molecular gas even warmer than that between the nuclei, wheremore »the two galaxies’ interstellar media are colliding. A ridgeline of high [Oiii]/Hβemission along the eastern arm aligns with the southern nucleus’ stellar disk minor axis; optical integral field spectroscopy from WiFeS suggests this highly ionized gas is centered at systemic velocity and likely photoionized by direct line of sight to the southern active galactic nucleus.

    « less

    We present a detailed analysis of the ionized gas distribution and kinematics in the inner ∼ 200 pc of NGC 4546, host of a low-luminosity active galactic nucleus (LLAGN). Using GMOS−IFU observations, with a spectral coverage of 4736–6806 Å  and an angular resolution of 0.7 arcsec, we confirm that the nuclear emission is consistent with photoionization by an AGN, while the gas in the circumnuclear region may be ionized by hot low-mass evolved stars. The gas kinematics in the central region of NGC 4546 presents three components: (i) a disc with major axis oriented along a position angle of 43° ± 3°, counter rotating relative to the stellar disc; (ii) non-circular motions, evidenced by residual velocities of up to 60 km s−1, likely associated with a previous capture of a dwarf satellite by NGC 4546; and (iii) nuclear outflows in ionized gas, identified as a broad component (σ ∼ 320 km s−1) in the line profiles, with a mass outflow rate of $\dot{M}_{\rm out} = 0.3 \pm 0.1$ M⊙ yr−1 and a total mass of Mout = (9.2 ± 0.8) × 103 M⊙ in ionized gas, corresponding to less than 3 per cent of the total mass of ionized gas in the inner 200 pc of NGC 4546. The kinetic efficiency of themore »outflow is roughly 0.1 per cent, which is smaller than the outflow coupling efficiencies predicted by theoretical studies to AGN feedback become efficient in suppressing star formation in the host galaxy.

    « less
  5. Abstract

    We present results on the nature of extreme ejective feedback episodes and the physical conditions of a population of massive (M*∼ 1011M), compact starburst galaxies atz= 0.4–0.7. We use data from Keck/NIRSPEC, SDSS, Gemini/GMOS, MMT, and Magellan/MagE to measure rest-frame optical and near-IR spectra of 14 starburst galaxies with extremely high star formation rate surface densities (mean ΣSFR∼ 2000Myr−1kpc−2) and powerful galactic outflows (maximum speedsv98∼ 1000–3000 km s−1). Our unique data set includes an ensemble of both emission ([Oii]λλ3726,3729, Hβ, [Oiii]λλ4959,5007, Hα, [Nii]λλ6549,6585, and [Sii]λλ6716,6731) and absorption (Mgiiλλ2796,2803, and Feiiλ2586) lines that allow us to investigate the kinematics of the cool gas phase (T∼ 104K) in the outflows. Employing a suite of line ratio diagnostic diagrams, we find that the central starbursts are characterized by high electron densities (medianne∼ 530 cm−3), and high metallicity (solar or supersolar). We show that the outflows are most likely driven by stellar feedback emerging from the extreme central starburst, rather than by an AGN. We also present multiple intriguing observational signatures suggesting that these galaxies may have substantial Lyman continuum (LyC) photon leakage, including weak [Sii]nebular emission lines. Our results imply that these galaxies may be captured in a short-lived phase of extrememore »star formation and feedback where much of their gas is violently blown out by powerful outflows that open up channels for LyC photons to escape.

    « less