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The rapid evolution of AGN feedback in brightest cluster galaxies : switching from quasar-mode to radio-mode feedback.

Hlavacek-Larrondo, J. and Fabian, A.C. and Edge, A.C. and Ebeling, H. and Allen, S.W. and Sanders, J.S. and Taylor, G.B. (2013) 'The rapid evolution of AGN feedback in brightest cluster galaxies : switching from quasar-mode to radio-mode feedback.', Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society., 431 (2). pp. 1638-1658.


We present an analysis of the 2–10 keV X-ray emission associated with the active galactic nuclei (AGN) in brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs). Our sample consists of 32 BCGs that lie in highly X-ray luminous cluster of galaxies (L X−ray (0.1−2.4keV)>3×10 44 ergs −1 ) in which AGN-jetted outflows are creating and sustaining clear X-ray cavities. Our sample covers the redshift range 0 < z < 0.6 and reveals strong evolution in the nuclear X-ray luminosities, such that the black holes in these systems have become on average at least 10 times fainter over the last 5 Gyr. Mindful of potential selection effects, we propose two possible scenarios to explain our results: (1) either that the AGN in BCGs with X-ray cavities are steadily becoming fainter, or more likely, (2) that the fraction of these BCGs with radiatively efficient nuclei is decreasing with time from roughly 60 per cent at z ≈ 0.6 to 30 per cent at z ≈ 0.1. Based on this strong evolution, we predict that a significant fraction of BCGs in z ≈ 1 clusters may host quasars at their centres, potentially complicating the search for such clusters at high redshift. In analogy with black hole binaries and based on the observed Eddington ratios of our sources, we further propose that the evolving AGN population in BCGs with X-ray cavities may be transiting from a canonical low/hard state, analogous to that of X-ray binaries, to a quiescent state over the last 5 Gyr.

Item Type:Article
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Keywords:Accretion, Accretion discs, Black hole physics, Galaxies: clusters: general, Galaxies: jets, X-rays: galaxies: clusters
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Publisher statement:This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2013 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:19 June 2014
Date of first online publication:May 2013
Date first made open access:No date available

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