FORGE’D IN FIRE: RESOLVING THE END OF STAR FORMATION AND STRUCTURE OF AGN ACCRETION DISKS FROM COSMOLOGICAL INITIAL CONDITIONS

Philip F. Hopkins, Michael Y. Grudić, Kung Yi Su, Sarah Wellons, Daniel Anglés-Alcázar, Ulrich P. Steinwandel, Dávid Guszejnov, Norman Murray, Claude André Faucher-Giguère, Eliot Quataert, Dušan Kereš

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

It has recently become possible to “zoom-in” from cosmological to sub-pc scales in galaxy simulations to follow accretion onto supermassive black holes (SMBHs). However, at some point the approximations used on ISM scales (e.g. optically-thin cooling and stellar-population-integrated star formation [SF] and feedback [FB]) break down. We therefore present the first cosmological radiation-magnetohydrodynamic (RMHD) simulation which self-consistently combines the FIRE physics (relevant on galactic/ISM scales where SF/FB are ensemble-averaged) and STARFORGE physics (relevant on small scales where we track individual (proto)stellar formation and evolution), together with explicit RMHD (including non-ideal MHD and multi-band M1-RHD) which self-consistently treats both optically-thick and thin regimes. This allows us to span scales from ∼ 100 Mpc down to < 100 au (∼ 300 Schwarzschild radii) around a SMBH at a time where it accretes as a bright quasar, in a single simulation. We show that accretion rates up to ∼ 10 − 100 M yr−1 can be sustained into the accretion disk at ≪ 103 Rschw, with gravitational torques between stars and gas dominating on sub-kpc scales until star formation is shut down on sub-pc scales by a combination of optical depth to cooling and strong magnetic fields. There is an intermediate-scale, flux-frozen disk which is gravitoturbulent and stabilized by magnetic pressure sustaining strong turbulence and inflow with persistent spiral modes. In this paper we focus on how gas gets into the small-scale disk, and how star formation is efficiently suppressed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalOpen Journal of Astrophysics
Volume7
DOIs
StatePublished - 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

Keywords

  • accretion, accretion disks
  • galaxies: active
  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: formation
  • quasars: general
  • quasars: supermassive black holes

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