Cause and effect of feedback: multiphase gas in cluster cores heated by AGN jets.
GASPARI M., RUSZKOWSKI M. and SHARMA P.
Abstract (from CDS):
Multiwavelength data indicate that the X-ray-emitting plasma in the cores of galaxy clusters is not cooling catastrophically. To a large extent, cooling is offset by heating due to active galactic nuclei (AGNs) via jets. The cool-core clusters, with cooler/denser plasmas, show multiphase gas and signs of some cooling in their cores. These observations suggest that the cool core is locally thermally unstable while maintaining global thermal equilibrium. Using high-resolution, three-dimensional simulations we study the formation of multiphase gas in cluster cores heated by collimated bipolar AGN jets. Our key conclusion is that spatially extended multiphase filaments form only when the instantaneous ratio of the thermal instability and free-fall timescales (tTI/tff) falls below a critical threshold of ~10. When this happens, dense cold gas decouples from the hot intracluster medium (ICM) phase and generates inhomogeneous and spatially extended Hα filaments. These cold gas clumps and filaments "rain" down onto the central regions of the core, forming a cold rotating torus and in part feeding the supermassive black hole. Consequently, the self-regulated feedback enhances AGN heating and the core returns to a higher entropy level with tTI/tff> 10. Eventually, the core reaches quasi-stable global thermal equilibrium, and cold filaments condense out of the hot ICM whenever tTI/tff ≲ 10. This occurs despite the fact that the energy from AGN jets is supplied to the core in a highly anisotropic fashion. The effective spatial redistribution of heat is enabled in part by the turbulent motions in the wake of freely falling cold filaments. Increased AGN activity can locally reverse the cold gas flow, launching cold filamentary gas away from the cluster center. Our criterion for the condensation of spatially extended cold gas is in agreement with observations and previous idealized simulations.
galaxies: active - galaxies: clusters: general - galaxies: jets - intergalactic medium - methods: numerical