Hydrodynamic Models of AGN Feedback in Cooling Core Clusters
Vernaleo, John C.
Reynolds, Christopher S.
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X-ray observations show that the Intra Cluster Medium (ICM) in many galaxy clusters is cooling at a rapid rate, often to the point that it should have radiated away all of its energy in less than the age of the cluster. There is however a very clear lack of enough cool end products of this gas in the centers of the clusters. Energetic arguments indicate that Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) should be capable of heating the inner regions of clusters enough to offset the radiative cooling; truncating massive galaxy formation and solving the cooling flow problem. We present three sets of high resolution, ideal hydrodynamic simulations with the ZEUS code to test this AGN heating paradigm. For the first set of simulations, we study the dependence of the interaction between the AGN jets and the ICM on the parameters of the jets themselves. We present a parameter survey of two-dimensional (axisymmetric) models of back-to-back jets injected into a cluster atmosphere. We follow the passive evolution of the resulting structures. These simulations fall into roughly two classes, cocoon-bounded and non-cocoon bounded. We find that the cocoon-bounded sources inject significantly more entropy into the core regions of the ICM atmosphere, even though the efficiency with which the energy is thermalized is independent of the morphological class. In all cases, a large fraction of the energy injected by the jet ends up as gravitational potential energy due to the expansion of the atmosphere. For the second set, we present three-dimensional simulations of jetted AGN that act in response to cooling-mediated accretion of an ICM atmosphere. We find that our models are incapable of producing a long term balance of heating and cooling; catastrophic cooling can be delayed by the jet action but inevitably takes hold. At the heart of the failure of these models is the formation of a low density channel through which the jet can freely flow, carrying its energy out of the cooling core. Finally, we present a set of simulations with both feedback and precessing jets. The addition of jet precession is not sufficient to couple the jets to the ICM energetically although it can deposit a large amount of energy in sound waves. These sound waves are lost to the system in ideal hydrodynamics, but ultimately may provide a powerful heating mechanism for clusters cores by AGN when additional physical effects are taken into account.