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Title: Hot versus cold: The dichotomy in spherical accretion of cooling flows onto supermassive black holes in elliptical galaxies, galaxy groups, and clusters

Feedback heating from active galactic nuclei (AGNs) has been commonly invoked to suppress cooling flows predicted in hot gas in elliptical galaxies, galaxy groups, and clusters. Previous studies have focused on if and how AGN feedback heats the gas but have little paid attention to its triggering mechanism. Using spherically symmetric simulations, we investigate how large-scale cooling flows are accreted by central supermassive black holes (SMBHs) in eight well-observed systems and find an interesting dichotomy. In massive clusters, the gas develops a central cooling catastrophe within about the cooling time (typically ∼100-300 Myr), resulting in cold-mode accretion onto SMBHs. However, in our four simulated systems on group and galaxy scales at a low metallicity Z = 0.3 Z {sub ☉}, the gas quickly settles into a long-term state that has a cuspy central temperature profile extending to several tens to about 100 pc. At the more realistic solar metallicity, two groups (with R {sub e} ∼ 4 kpc) still host the long-term, hot-mode accretion. Both accretion modes naturally appear in our idealized calculations where only cooling, gas inflow, and compressional heating are considered. The long-term, hot-mode accretion is maintained by the quickly established closeness between the timescales of these processes,more » preferably in systems with low gas densities, low gas metallicities, and importantly, compact central galaxies, which result in strong gravitational acceleration and compressional heating at the intermediate radii. Our calculations predict that central cuspy temperature profiles appear more often in smaller systems than galaxy clusters, which instead often host significant cold gas and star formation.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [2]
  1. ETH Zürich, Institute for Astronomy, Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse 27, CH- 8093, Zürich (Switzerland)
  2. UCO/Lick Observatory, Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22348261
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 780; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ACCELERATION; ACCRETION DISKS; BLACK HOLES; DENSITY; FEEDBACK; GALAXIES; GALAXY CLUSTERS; GALAXY NUCLEI; HEAT; HEATING; METALLICITY; SIMULATION; SPHERICAL CONFIGURATION; STARS; SYMMETRY