Pathways for improving black hole feedback models in galaxy formation simulations

Bryan Terrazas (CfA)
Friday, December 3, 2021 - 2:00pm to 3:00pm

Galaxy formation models rely on black hole feedback to suppress star formation and reproduce the observed census of massive galaxies. Despite its importance, it remains one of the least understood processes affecting galaxies. My previous work has shown that black hole feedback models vary widely and are largely unconstrained. One promising avenue towards constraining these models is using multiwavelength observations of BH feedback in action. These data contain critical information of how BHs affect the multiphase gas around galaxies. I will describe current work that uses radiative transfer modeling to create synthetic observations of H-alpha line emission tracing warm ionized gas in a simulated z=2 galaxy with BH winds from the FIRE simulation. The expectation is that H-alpha emission will trace the warm, ionized gas phase of the outflow, which could then be compared to observations. I find that current high resolution galaxy-scale simulations do not resolve the physics necessary to accurately model multiphase outflows. Future work will need to trace H-alpha emitting gas in the turbulent radiative mixing layer between outflows and cold interstellar clouds. Accurate modeling of multiphase outflows will be critical for providing a more robust theoretical framework for determining the physics that is encoded in observations of BH feedback in action.

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