The importance of warm, AGN-driven outflows in rapidly evolving galaxies in the local universe
Although there is increasing speculation that the evolution of galaxy bulges may be regulated by AGN-induced outflows associated with the growth of the central supermassive black holes, the importance of AGN-induced outflows relative to those driven by starbursts has yet to be established observationally. In this context we have recently presented a study focusing on AGN-induced outflows in a sample of local Seyftert-ULIRGs. Perhaps, our most interesting result is related to the energy that the AGN returns to the galaxy in the form of feedback. We find that the typical mass outflows rates and kinetic powers of the emission line outflows are, in general, less energetically significant than the neutral and molecular outflows in ULIRGs and moreover, than those required today in the majority of the current hydrodynamic simulations that include AGN feedback. However, the uncertainties in the existing measurements are large, and more accurate estimates of the radii, densities and reddening of the outflows are required to put these results on a firmer footing. In this context, we are using HST /ACS+STIS and VLT-Xhsooter observations to accurately estimate sizes, electron densities and reddening to eventually provide the most accurate estimates of the kinetic powers associated with the ionized gas. In this talk I will describe in detail the results of this study focussing on testing the current simulations of hierarchical galaxy evolution.
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