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Physics  2015 

AGN Feedback, Host Halo Mass and Central Cooling Time: Implications for Galaxy Formation Efficiency and $M_{BH} - σ$

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We derive X-ray mass, luminosity, and temperature profiles for 45 galaxy clusters to explore relationships between halo mass, AGN feedback, and central cooling time. We find that radio--mechanical feedback power (referred to here as "AGN power") in central cluster galaxies correlates with halo mass, but only in halos with central atmospheric cooling times shorter than 1 Gyr. This timescale corresponds approximately to the cooling time (entropy) threshold for the onset of cooling instabilities and star formation in central galaxies (Rafferty et al. 2008). No correlation is found in systems with central cooling times greater than 1 Gyr. The trend with halo mass is consistent with self-similar scaling relations assuming cooling is regulated by feedback. The trend is also consistent with galaxy and central black hole co-evolution along the $M_{BH} - \sigma $ relation. AGN power further correlates with X-ray gas mass and the host galaxy's K-band luminosity. AGN power in clusters with central atmospheric cooling times longer than ~1 Gyr typically lies two orders of magnitude below those with shorter central cooling times. Galaxies centred in clusters with long central cooling times nevertheless experience ongoing and occasionally powerful AGN outbursts. We further investigate the impact of feedback on cluster scaling relations. We find L-T, and M-T relations, excluding regions directly affected by AGN, that are consistent with the cluster population as a whole. While the gas mass rises, the stellar mass remains nearly constant with rising total mass, consistent with earlier studies. This trend is found regardless of central cooling time, implying tight regulation of star formation in central galaxies as their halos grew, and long-term balance between AGN heating and atmospheric cooling. Our scaling relations are presented in forms that can be incorporated easily into galaxy evolution models.


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