Accretion onto Black Holes from Large Scales Regulated by Radiative Feedback

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This thesis focuses on radiation-regulated gas accretion onto black holes (BHs) from galactic scales emphasizing the role of thermal and radiation pressure in limiting gas supply to the BH. Assuming quasi-spherical symmetry, we explore how the gas accretion depends on free parameters such as radiative efficiency, BH mass, ambient gas density/temperature, and the spectral index of the radiation. Our numerical simulations show an oscillatory behavior of the accretion rate, and thus the luminosity from the BH. We present a model for the feedback loop and provide analytical relationships for the average/maximum accretion rate and the period of the accretion bursts. The thermal structure inside the str sphere is a key factor for the regulation process, while with increasing ambient gas density and mass of BHs eventually the accretion rate becomes limited by radiation pressure. The period of the luminosity bursts is proportional to the average size of the ionized hot bubble, but we discover that there are two distinct modes of oscillations with very different duty cycles that are governed by different depletion processes of the gas inside the ionized bubble. We also study how angular momentum of the gas affects the accretion process.

In the second part of the thesis, we study the growth rate and luminosity of BHs in motion with respect to their surrounding medium. Contrary to the case without radiation feedback, we find that the accretion rate increases with increasing BH velocity, v, reaching a maximum value at v ~ 20-30 km/s, before decreasing as v^{-3}. The increase of the accretion rate with v is produced by the formation of a D-type (density) ionization front (I-front) preceded by a standing bow-shock that reduces the downstream gas velocity to nearly sub-sonic values. Interestingly, there is a range of densities and velocities in which the dense shell downstream of the bow-shock is unstable; its central part is destroyed and reformed intermittingly, producing a periodic accretion rate with peak values about 10 times the mean. This effect can significantly increase the detectability of accreting intermediate mass BHs from the interstellar medium (ISM) in nearby galaxies. We find that the maximum accretion rate for a moving BH is larger than that of a stationary BH of the same mass, accreting from the same medium, if the medium temperature is T<10^4 K. This result could have an important impact on our understanding of the growth of seed BHs in the multi-phase medium of the first galaxies and for building and early X-ray background that may affect the formation of the first galaxies and the reionization process.