AGN on the Beach


Fuelling processes on (sub-)kpc scales

Francoise Combes (Invited)

 Mo, 9:10 ! Livein  Palazzo Santa Chiarafor  30min

Since the 1970s, astronomers have struggled with the issue of how matter can be accreted to promote black hole growth. While low-angular-momentum stars may be devoured by the black hole, they are not a sustainable source of fuel. Gas, which could potentially provide an abundant fuel source, presents another challenge due to its enormous angular momentum. While viscous torques are not significant, gas is subject to gravity torques from non-axisymmetric potentials such as bars and spirals. Primary bars can exchange angular momentum with the gas inside corotation, driving it inward spiraling until the inner Lindblad resonance is reached. An embedded nuclear bar can then take over. As the gas reaches the black hole’s sphere of influence, the torque turns negative, fueling the center. Dynamical friction also accelerates the infall of gas clouds closer to the nucleus. However, due to the Eddington limit, growing a black hole from a stellar-mass seed is a slow process. The existence of very massive black holes in the early universe remains a puzzle that could potentially be solved through direct collapse of massive clouds into black holes or super-Eddington accretion.

 Overview  Program