Black hole–galaxy scaling relations in FIRE: the importance of black hole location and mergers
ABSTRACT

The concurrent growth of supermassive black holes (SMBHs) and their host galaxies remains to be fully explored, especially at high redshift. While often understood as a consequence of self-regulation via AGN feedback, it can also be explained by alternative SMBH accretion models. Here, we expand on previous work by studying the growth of SMBHs with the help of a large suite of cosmological zoom-in simulations (MassiveFIRE) that are part of the Feedback in Realistic Environments (FIRE) project. The growth of SMBHs is modelled in post-processing with different black hole accretion models, placements, and merger treatments, and validated by comparing to on-the-fly calculations. Scaling relations predicted by the gravitational torque-driven accretion (GTDA) model agree with observations at low redshift without the need for AGN feedback, in contrast to models in which the accretion rate depends strongly on SMBH mass. At high redshift, we find deviations from the local scaling relations in line with previous theoretical results. In particular, SMBHs are undermassive, presumably due to stellar feedback, but start to grow efficiently once their host galaxies reach M* ∼ 1010M⊙. We analyse and explain these findings in the context of a simple analytic model. Finally, we show that the predicted scaling more »

Authors:
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Award ID(s):
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10362447
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume:
511
Issue:
1
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 506-535
ISSN:
0035-8711
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
1. ABSTRACT Observations of massive galaxies at low redshift have revealed approximately linear scaling relations between the mass of a supermassive black hole (SMBH) and properties of its host galaxy. How these scaling relations evolve with redshift and whether they extend to lower-mass galaxies, however, remain open questions. Recent galaxy formation simulations predict a delayed, or ‘two-phase,’ growth of SMBHs: slow, highly intermittent BH growth due to repeated gas ejection by stellar feedback in low-mass galaxies, followed by more sustained gas accretion that eventually brings BHs on to the local scaling relations. The predicted two-phase growth implies a steep increase, or ‘kink,’ in BH-galaxy scaling relations at a stellar mass $\rm {M}_{*}\sim 5\times 10^{10}$ M⊙. We develop a parametric, semi-analytic model to compare different SMBH growth models against observations of the quasar luminosity function (QLF) at z ∼ 0.5−4. We compare models in which the relation between SMBH mass and galaxy mass is purely linear versus two-phase models. The models are anchored to the observed galaxy stellar mass function, and the BH mass functions at different redshifts are consistently connected by the accretion rates contributing to the QLF. The best fits suggest that two-phase evolution is significantly preferred by the QLFmore »
Several recent simulations of galaxy formation predict two main phases of supermassive black hole (BH) accretion: an early, highly intermittent phase (during which BHs are undermassive relative to local scaling relations), followed by a phase of accelerated growth. We investigate physical factors that drive the transition in BH accretion in cosmological zoom-in simulations from the FIRE project, ranging from dwarf galaxies to galaxies sufficiently massive to host luminous quasars. The simulations model multichannel stellar feedback, but neglect AGN feedback. We show that multiple physical properties, including halo mass, galaxy stellar mass, and depth of the central gravitational potential correlate with accelerated BH fuelling: constant thresholds in these properties are typically crossed within ∼0.1 Hubble time of accelerated BH fuelling. Black hole masses increase sharply when the stellar surface density in the inner 1 kpc crosses a threshold $\Sigma^\star _{1\,\rm kpc}\approx 10^{9.5} \, {\rm M_{\odot }}\,{\rm kpc}^{-2}$, a characteristic value above which gravity prevents stellar feedback from ejecting gas, and similar to the value above which galaxies are observed to quench. We further show that accelerated BH growth correlates with the emergence of long-lived thin gas discs, as well as with virialization of the inner circumgalactic medium. The halo mass Mhalomore »
5. ABSTRACT Supermassive black holes (SMBHs) that reside at the centres of galaxies can inject vast amounts of energy into the surrounding gas and are thought to be a viable mechanism to quench star formation in massive galaxies. Here, we study the $10^{9-12.5}\, \mathrm{M_\odot }$ stellar mass central galaxy population of the IllustrisTNG simulation, specifically the TNG100 and TNG300 volumes at z = 0, and show how the three components – SMBH, galaxy, and circumgalactic medium (CGM) – are interconnected in their evolution. We find that gas entropy is a sensitive diagnostic of feedback injection. In particular, we demonstrate how the onset of the low-accretion black hole (BH) feedback mode, realized in the IllustrisTNG model as a kinetic, BH-driven wind, leads not only to star formation quenching at stellar masses $\gtrsim 10^{10.5}\, \mathrm{M_\odot }$ but also to a change in thermodynamic properties of the (non-star-forming) gas, both within the galaxy and beyond. The IllustrisTNG kinetic feedback from SMBHs increases the average gas entropy, within the galaxy and in the CGM, lengthening typical gas cooling times from $10\!-\!100\, \mathrm{Myr}$ to $1\!-\!10\, \mathrm{Gyr}$, effectively ceasing ongoing star formation and inhibiting radiative cooling and future gas accretion. In practice, the same active galactic nucleusmore »