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The rapid growth phase of supermassive black holes

McAlpine, S, Bower, RG, Rosario, DJ, Crain, RA, Schaye, J and Theuns, T (2018) The rapid growth phase of supermassive black holes. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 481 (3). pp. 3118-3128. ISSN 0035-8711

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Abstract

We investigate the rapid growth phase of supermassive black holes (BHs) within the hydrodynamical cosmological \eagle simulation. This non-linear phase of BH growth occurs within $\sim$$L_{*}$ galaxies, embedded between two regulatory states of the galaxy host: in sub $L_{*}$ galaxies efficient stellar feedback regulates the gas inflow onto the galaxy and significantly reduces the growth of the central BH, while in galaxies more massive than $L_{*}$ efficient AGN feedback regulates the gas inflow onto the galaxy and curbs further non-linear BH growth. We find evolving critical galaxy and halo mass scales at which rapid BH growth begins. Galaxies in the low-redshift Universe transition into the rapid BH growth phase in haloes that are approximately an order of magnitude more massive than their high-redshift counterparts (\M{200} $\approx 10^{12.4}$~\Msol at $z \approx 0$ decreasing to \M{200} $\approx 10^{11.2}$~\Msol at $z \approx 6$). Instead, BHs enter the rapid growth phase at a fixed critical halo virial temperature ($T_{\mathrm{vir}} \approx 10^{5.6}$~K). We additionally show that major galaxy--galaxy interactions ($\mu \geq \frac{1}{4}$, where $\mu$ is the stellar mass ratio) play a substantial role in triggering the rapid growth phase of BHs in the low-redshift Universe, whilst potentially having a lower influence at high redshift. Approximately 40\% of BHs that initiate the rapid BH growth phase at $z \approx 0$ do so within $\pm 0.5$ dynamical times of a major galaxy--galaxy merger, a fourfold increase above what is expected from the background merger rate. We find that minor mergers ($\frac{1}{10} \leq \mu < \frac{1}{4}$) have a substantially lower influence in triggering the rapid growth phase at all epochs.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society ©: 2018 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Uncontrolled Keywords: astro-ph.GA; astro-ph.GA
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions: Astrophysics Research Institute
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2018 11:27
Last Modified: 25 Sep 2018 10:35
DOI or Identification number: 10.1093/mnras/sty2489
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/9312

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