Momentum-driven Winds from Radiatively Efficient Black Hole Accretion and Their Impact on Galaxies

Ryan Brennan, Ena Choi, Rachel S. Somerville, Michaela Hirschmann, Thorsten Naab, Jeremiah P. Ostriker

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We explore the effect of momentum-driven winds representing radiation-pressure-driven outflows from accretion onto supermassive black holes in a set of numerical hydrodynamical simulations. We explore two matched sets of cosmological zoom-in runs of 24 halos with masses ∼1012.0-1013.4 M o run with two different feedback models. Our "NoAGN" model includes stellar feedback via UV heating, stellar winds and supernovae, photoelectric heating, and cosmic X-ray background heating from a metagalactic background. Our fiducial "MrAGN" model is identical except that it also includes a model for black hole seeding and accretion, as well as heating and momentum injection associated with the radiation from black hole accretion. Our MrAGN model launches galactic outflows, which result in both "ejective" feedback - the outflows themselves that drive gas out of galaxies - and "preventative" feedback, which suppresses the inflow of new and recycling gas. As much as 80% of outflowing galactic gas can be expelled, and accretion can be suppressed by as much as a factor of 30 in the MrAGN runs when compared with the NoAGN runs. The histories of NoAGN galaxies are recycling dominated, with ∼70% of material that leaves the galaxy eventually returning, and the majority of outflowing gas reaccretes on 1 Gyr timescales without AGN feedback. Outflowing gas in the MrAGN runs has a higher characteristic velocity (500-1000 km s-1 versus 100-300 km s-1 for outflowing NoAGN gas) and travels as far as a few megaparsecs. Only ∼10% of ejected material is reaccreted in the MrAGN galaxies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number14
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 10 Jun 2018


  • galaxies: active
  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: interactions
  • quasars: general


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