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AGN Feedback in the X-ray Surveyor Era

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posted on 06.10.2015 by Reynolds, Chris

It is now widely recognized that the growth of supermassive black holes can have a profound influence on the evolution of their host galaxy. For example, powerful quasars resulting from the merger of gas rich galaxies can produce sub-relativistic winds that may expel cold gas from the galaxy, extinguishing continued star formation. Another form of feedback occurs in giant elliptical galaxies and galaxy clusters - relativistic jets from the central AGN appear to heat the hot interstellar/intracluster gas, preventing a cooling catastrophe that would otherwise grow the stellar mass appreciably. While current observations reveal incontrovertible signatures of these feedback processes, the underlying physical mechanisms remain very poorly understood. What drives the powerful winds in luminous quasars? How does the energy injected by relativistic jets actually become thermalized in the intracluster medium? How are the feedback loops maintained? In this talk, I will discuss these questions and the impact of future observations by Astro-H, ATHENA and the X-ray Surveyor.

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