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  1. Abstract

    Fueling and feedback couple supermassive black holes (SMBHs) to their host galaxies across many orders of magnitude in spatial and temporal scales, making this problem notoriously challenging to simulate. We use a multi-zone computational method based on the general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic (GRMHD) code KHARMA that allows us to span 7 orders of magnitude in spatial scale, to simulate accretion onto a non-spinning SMBH from an external medium with a Bondi radius ofRB≈ 2 × 105GM/c2, whereMis the SMBH mass. For the classic idealized Bondi problem, spherical gas accretion without magnetic fields, our simulation results agree very well with the general relativistic analytic solution. Meanwhile, when the accreting gas is magnetized, the SMBH magnetosphere becomes saturated with a strong magnetic field. The density profile varies as ∼r−1rather thanr−3/2and the accretion rateṀis consequently suppressed by over 2 orders of magnitude below the Bondi rateṀB. We find continuous energy feedback from the accretion flow to the external medium at a level of102Ṁc25×105ṀBc2. Energy transport across these widely disparate scales occurs via turbulent convection triggered by magnetic field reconnection near the SMBH. Thus, strong magnetic fields that accumulate on horizon scales transform the flow dynamics far from the SMBH and naturally explain observed extremely low accretion rates compared to the Bondi rate, as well as at least part of the energy feedback.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  2. ABSTRACT

    The origin of the cold phase in the circumgalactic medium (CGM) is a highly debated question. We investigate the contribution of satellite galaxies to the cold gas budget in the CGM of a Milky Way-like host galaxy. We perform controlled experiments with three different satellite mass distributions and identify several mechanisms by which satellites can add cold gas to the CGM, including ram pressure stripping and induced cooling in the mixing layer of the stripped cold gas. These two mechanisms contribute a comparable amount of cold gas to the host CGM. We find that the less massive satellites (≤109M⊙) not only lose all of their cold gas in a short period (∼ 0.5–1 Gyr), but their stripped cold clouds also mix with the hot CGM gas and get heated up quickly. However, stellar feedback from these less massive satellites can hugely alter the fate of their stripped gas. Feedback speeds up the destruction of the stripped cold clouds from these satellites by making them more diffuse with more surface area. On the other hand, the more massive satellites (LMC or SMC-like ∼1010M⊙) can add cold gas to the total gas budget of the host CGM for several Gyr.

     
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  3. ABSTRACT

    Synchrotron emission is one of few observable tracers of galactic magnetic fields (B) and cosmic rays (CRs). Much of our understanding of B in galaxies comes from utilizing synchrotron observations in conjunction with several simplifying assumptions of equipartition models, however, it remains unclear how well these assumptions hold, and what B these estimates physically represent. Using Feedback in Realistic Environments project simulations which self-consistently evolve CR proton, electron, and positron spectra from MeV to TeV energies, we present the first synthetic synchrotron emission predictions from simulated L* galaxies with ‘live’ spectrally resolved CR-magnetohydrodynamic. We find that synchrotron emission can be dominated by relatively cool and dense gas, resulting in equipartition estimates of B with fiducial assumptions underestimating the ‘true’ B in the gas that contributes the most emission by factors of 2–3 due to small volume-filling factors. Motivated by our results, we present an analytical framework that expands upon equipartition models for estimating B in a multiphase medium. Comparing our spectrally resolved synchrotron predictions to simpler spectral assumptions used in galaxy simulations with CRs, we find that spectral evolution can be crucial for accurate synchrotron calculations towards galactic centres, where loss terms are large.

     
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  4. ABSTRACT Feedback driven by jets from active galactic nuclei is believed to be responsible for reducing cooling flows in cool-core galaxy clusters. We use simulations to model feedback from hydrodynamic jets in isolated haloes. While the jet propagation converges only after the diameter of the jet is well resolved, reliable predictions about the effects these jets have on the cooling time distribution function only require resolutions sufficient to keep the jet-inflated cavities stable. Comparing different model variations, as well as an independent jet model using a different hydrodynamics code, we show that the dominant uncertainties are the choices of jet properties within a given model. Independent of implementation, we find that light, thermal jets with low momentum flux tend to delay the onset of a cooling flow more efficiently on a 50 Myr time-scale than heavy, kinetic jets. The delay of the cooling flow originates from a displacement and boost in entropy of the central gas. If the jet kinetic luminosity depends on accretion rate, collimated, light, hydrodynamic jets are able to reduce cooling flows in haloes, without a need for jet precession or wide opening angles. Comparing the jet feedback with a ‘kinetic wind’ implementation shows that equal amounts of star formation rate reduction can be achieved by different interactions with the halo gas: the jet has a larger effect on the hot halo gas while leaving the denser, star-forming phase in place, while the wind acts more locally on the star-forming phase, which manifests itself in different time-variability properties. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 23, 2024
  5. ABSTRACT

    Arkenstone is a new model for multiphase, stellar feedback-driven galactic winds designed for inclusion in coarse resolution cosmological simulations. In this first paper of a series, we describe the features that allow Arkenstone to properly treat high specific energy wind components and demonstrate them using idealized non-cosmological simulations of a galaxy with a realistic circumgalactic medium (CGM), using the arepo code. Hot, fast gas phases with low mass loadings are predicted to dominate the energy content of multiphase outflows. In order to treat the huge dynamic range of spatial scales involved in cosmological galaxy formation at feasible computational expense, cosmological volume simulations typically employ a Lagrangian code or else use adaptive mesh refinement with a quasi-Lagrangian refinement strategy. However, it is difficult to inject a high specific energy wind in a Lagrangian scheme without incurring artificial burstiness. Additionally, the low densities inherent to this type of flow result in poor spatial resolution. Arkenstone addresses these issues with a novel scheme for coupling energy into the transition region between the interstellar medium (ISM) and the CGM, while also providing refinement at the base of the wind. Without our improvements, we show that poor spatial resolution near the sonic point of a hot, fast outflow leads to an underestimation of gas acceleration as the wind propagates. We explore the different mechanisms by which low and high specific energy winds can regulate the star formation rate of galaxies. In future work, we will demonstrate other aspects of the Arkenstone model.

     
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  6. ABSTRACT

    The early growth of black holes (BHs) in high-redshift galaxies is likely feedback regulated. While radiative feedback has been extensively studied, the role of mechanical feedback has received less scrutiny to date. Here, we use high-resolution parsec-scale hydrodynamical simulations to study jet propagation and its effect on 100 M⊙ BH accretion in the dense, low-metallicity gas expected in early protogalaxies. As the jet propagates, it shocks the surrounding gas forming a jet cocoon. The cocoon consists of a rapidly cooling cold phase at the interface with the background gas and an overpressured subsonic phase of reverse shock-heated gas filling the interior. We vary the background gas density and temperature, BH feedback efficiency, and the jet model. We found that the width of the jet cocoon roughly follows a scaling derived by assuming momentum conservation in the jet-propagation direction and energy conservation in the lateral directions. Depending on the assumed gas and jet properties, the cocoon either stays elongated to large radii or isotropizes before reaching the Bondi radius, forming a nearly spherical bubble. Lower jet velocities and higher background gas densities result in self-regulation to higher momentum fluxes and elongated cocoons. In all cases, the outward cocoon momentum flux balances the inward inflowing gas momentum flux near the Bondi radius, which ultimately regulates BH accretion. The time-averaged accretion rate always remains below the Bondi rate, and exceeds the Eddington rate only if the ambient medium is dense and cold, and/or the jet is weak (low velocity and mass loading).

     
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  7. ABSTRACT

    Negative feedback from accreting supermassive black holes is considered crucial in suppressing star formation and quenching massive galaxies. However, several models and observations suggest that black hole feedback may have a positive effect, triggering star formation by compressing interstellar medium gas to higher densities. We investigate the dual role of black hole feedback using cosmological hydrodynamic simulations from the Feedback In Realistic Environment (FIRE) project, incorporating a novel implementation of hyper-refined accretion-disc winds. Focusing on a massive, star-forming galaxy at z ∼ 2 ($M_{\rm halo} \sim 10^{12.5}\, {\rm M}_{\odot }$), we demonstrate that strong quasar winds with a kinetic power of ∼1046 erg s−1, persisting for over 20 Myr, drive the formation of a central gas cavity and significantly reduce the surface density of star formation across the galaxy’s disc. The suppression of star formation primarily occurs by limiting the availability of gas for star formation rather than by evacuating the pre-existing star-forming gas reservoir (preventive feedback dominates over ejective feedback). Despite the overall negative impact of quasar winds, we identify several potential indicators of local positive feedback, including (1) the spatial anticorrelation between wind-dominated regions and star-forming clumps, (2) higher local star formation efficiency in compressed gas at the edge of the cavity, and (3) increased contribution of outflowing material to local star formation. Moreover, stars formed under the influence of quasar winds tend to be located at larger radial distances. Our findings suggest that both positive and negative AGN feedback can coexist within galaxies, although the local positive triggering of star formation has a minor influence on global galaxy growth.

     
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  8. ABSTRACT

    Feedback from accreting supermassive black holes (SMBHs) is thought to be a primary driver of quenching in massive galaxies, but how to best implement SMBH physics into galaxy formation simulations remains ambiguous. As part of the Feedback in Realistic Environments (FIRE) project, we explore the effects of different modelling choices for SMBH accretion and feedback in a suite of ∼500 cosmological zoom-in simulations across a wide range of halo mass (1010–1013 M⊙). Within the suite, we vary the numerical schemes for BH accretion and feedback, accretion efficiency, and the strength of mechanical, radiative, and cosmic ray feedback independently. We then compare the outcomes to observed galaxy scaling relations. We find several models satisfying observational constraints for which the energetics in different feedback channels are physically plausible. Interestingly, cosmic rays accelerated by SMBHs play an important role in many plausible models. However, it is non-trivial to reproduce scaling relations across halo mass, and many model variations produce qualitatively incorrect results regardless of parameter choices. The growth of stellar and BH mass are closely related: for example, overmassive BHs tend to overquench galaxies. BH mass is most strongly affected by the choice of accretion efficiency in high-mass haloes, but by feedback efficiency in low-mass haloes. The amount of star formation suppression by SMBH feedback in low-mass haloes is determined primarily by the time-integrated feedback energy. For massive galaxies, the ‘responsiveness’ of a model (how quickly and powerfully the BH responds to gas available for accretion) is an additional important factor for quenching.

     
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  9. ABSTRACT Increasingly, uncertainties in predictions from galaxy formation simulations (at sub-Milky Way masses) are dominated by uncertainties in stellar evolution inputs. In this paper, we present the full set of updates from the Feedback In Realistic Environment (FIRE)-2 version of the FIRE project code, to the next version, FIRE-3. While the transition from FIRE-1 to FIRE-2 focused on improving numerical methods, here we update the stellar evolution tracks used to determine stellar feedback inputs, e.g. stellar mass-loss (O/B and AGB), spectra (luminosities and ionization rates), and supernova rates (core-collapse and Ia), as well as detailed mass-dependent yields. We also update the low-temperature cooling and chemistry, to enable improved accuracy at $T \lesssim 10^{4}\,$K and densities $n\gg 1\, {\rm cm^{-3}}$, and the meta-galactic ionizing background. All of these synthesize newer empirical constraints on these quantities and updated stellar evolution and yield models from a number of groups, addressing different aspects of stellar evolution. To make the updated models as accessible as possible, we provide fitting functions for all of the relevant updated tracks, yields, etc, in a form specifically designed so they can be directly ‘plugged in’ to existing galaxy formation simulations. We also summarize the default FIRE-3 implementations of ‘optional’ physics, including spectrally resolved cosmic rays and supermassive black hole growth and feedback. 
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  10. ABSTRACT Without additional heating, radiative cooling of the halo gas of massive galaxies (Milky Way-mass and above) produces cold gas or stars exceeding that observed. Heating from active galactic nucleus (AGN) jets is likely required, but the jet properties remain unclear. This is particularly challenging for galaxy simulations, where the resolution is orders-of-magnitude insufficient to resolve jet formation and evolution. On such scales, the uncertain parameters include the jet energy form [kinetic, thermal, cosmic ray (CR)]; energy, momentum, and mass flux; magnetic fields; opening angle; precession; and duty cycle. We investigate these parameters in a $10^{14}\, {\rm M}_{\odot }$ halo using high-resolution non-cosmological magnetohydrodynamic simulations with the FIRE-2 (Feedback In Realistic Environments) stellar feedback model, conduction, and viscosity. We explore which scenarios qualitatively meet observational constraints on the halo gas and show that CR-dominated jets most efficiently quench the galaxy by providing CR pressure support and modifying the thermal instability. Mildly relativistic (∼MeV or ∼1010K) thermal plasma jets work but require ∼10 times larger energy input. For fixed energy flux, jets with higher specific energy (longer cooling times) quench more effectively. For this halo mass, kinetic jets are inefficient at quenching unless they have wide opening or precession angles. Magnetic fields also matter less except when the magnetic energy flux reaches ≳ 1044 erg s−1 in a kinetic jet model, which significantly widens the jet cocoon. The criteria for a successful jet model are an optimal energy flux and a sufficiently wide jet cocoon with a long enough cooling time at the cooling radius. 
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