AGN winds, feedback and the baryon cycle in the galaxy ecosystem
INAF Observatory of Trieste
December 4th, 2018
Why did galaxies stop forming stars? Why do black holes in galactic nuclei have masses proportional to bulge masses? What are the physical mechanisms leading the transition from gas-rich, star-forming galaxies, to red gas-deprived passive galaxies? Theoretical models predict that AGN should play a major role in this co-evolution, by driving super winds that are eventually able to remove gas from galaxies, thus quenching star-formation and preventing them from over growing.
Today’s flagship Instruments - like ALMA and MUSE/VLT - allow to routinely detect AGN-driven massive winds, and to spatially resolve and measure their main parameters. AGN driven galactic winds seem a widespread feature in AGN host galaxies in the local universe, with mounting numbers also in the distant universe.
But questions arise about their net impact on the surrounding ISM, on the relative importance of quenching versus stimulating star-formation, on the removal of the gas reservoirs from the disks of the host galaxies.
Do we really understand the interplay of these AGN super-winds with the ISM of the host galaxy, and -perhaps more importantly- with the entire AGN/host galaxy/circum-galactic medium (CGM) ecosystem? I will discuss both observational and theoretical recent results on this topic - and highlight possible strategies to progress.