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Powerful Sound Waves from AGN Jets

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Feedback from jetted active galactic nuclei (AGN) provides the energy injection necessary to prevent a ``cooling catastrophe’’ in clusters of galaxies, suppressing star formation and truncating the galaxy mass function consistent with observations. The details of how AGN jets transport and thermalise their energy throughout the intracluster medium (ICM) remains an open question. We study how AGN jets produce sound waves which can propagate energy to large distances, uniformly dissipating and heating clusters. Using hydrodynamic simulations of supersonic jets in a model ICM , we find that AGN jets can convert greater than 25% of their energy into powerful long-wavelength sound waves. Our work argues that sound waves may comprise a significant fraction of the energy budget in cluster AGN feedback and underscores the importance of properly treating compressive wave dissipation in the ICM .

This talk is part of the Institute of Astronomy Seminars series.

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