Institute of Astronomy

The Impact of Nuclear Star Formation on Gas Inflow and AGN Fuelling

SpeakerTalk DateTalk Series
Richard Davies, Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik25 February 2010Institute of Astronomy Colloquia

Abstract

Adaptive optics observations of nearby AGN, at spatial resolutions as
small as 0.085", show strong evidence for recent - but no longer active -
star formation that has occurred in very dense thick nuclear disks. I
discuss the impact of stellar evolution on the inflow of gas to fuel the
AGN by combining a phenomenological approach with analytical modelling and
hydrodynamic simulations. These complementary perspectives paint a picture
in which all the processes are ultimately regulated by the mass accretion
rate into the central hundred parsecs, and the ensuing starburst that
occurs there. The resulting supernovae delay accretion by generating a
starburst wind, which leaves behind a clumpy interstellar medium. This
provides an ideal environment for slower stellar outflows to accrete
inwards and form a dense turbulent disk on scales of a few parsecs.
Such a scenario may resolve the discrepancy between the larger scale
structure seen with adaptive optics and the small scale structure seen
with VLTI.

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