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A galaxy-scale fountain of cold molecular gas pumped by a black hole.

Tremblay, G. R. and Combes, F. and Oonk, J. B. R. and Russell, H. R. and McDonald, M. A. and Gaspari, M. and Husemann, B. and Nulsen, P. E. J. and McNamara, B. R. and Hamer, S. L. and O’Dea, C. P. and Baum, S. A. and Davis, T. A. and Donahue, M. and Voit, G. M. and Edge, A. C. and Blanton, E. L. and Bremer, M. N. and Bulbul, E. and Clarke, T. E. and David, L. P. and Edwards, L. O. V. and Eggerman, D. and Fabian, A. C. and Forman, W. and Jones, C. and Kerman, N. and Kraft, R. P. and Li, Y. and Powell, M. and Randall, S. W. and Salomé, P. and Simionescu, A. and Su, Y. and Sun, M. and Urry, C. M. and Vantyghem, A. N. and Wilkes, B. J. and ZuHone, J. A. (2018) 'A galaxy-scale fountain of cold molecular gas pumped by a black hole.', Astrophysical journal., 865 (1). p. 13.


We present Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array and Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer observations of the brightest cluster galaxy in Abell 2597, a nearby (z = 0.0821) cool core cluster of galaxies. The data map the kinematics of a three billion solar mass filamentary nebula that spans the innermost 30 kpc of the galaxy's core. Its warm ionized and cold molecular components are both cospatial and comoving, consistent with the hypothesis that the optical nebula traces the warm envelopes of many cold molecular clouds that drift in the velocity field of the hot X-ray atmosphere. The clouds are not in dynamical equilibrium, and instead show evidence for inflow toward the central supermassive black hole, outflow along the jets it launches, and uplift by the buoyant hot bubbles those jets inflate. The entire scenario is therefore consistent with a galaxy-spanning "fountain," wherein cold gas clouds drain into the black hole accretion reservoir, powering jets and bubbles that uplift a cooling plume of low-entropy multiphase gas, which may stimulate additional cooling and accretion as part of a self-regulating feedback loop. All velocities are below the escape speed from the galaxy, and so these clouds should rain back toward the galaxy center from which they came, keeping the fountain long lived. The data are consistent with major predictions of chaotic cold accretion, precipitation, and stimulated feedback models, and may trace processes fundamental to galaxy evolution at effectively all mass scales.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© 2018. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Date accepted:28 July 2018
Date deposited:04 October 2018
Date of first online publication:17 September 2018
Date first made open access:04 October 2018

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