The Relation Between Accretion Rate And Jet Power in X-Ray Luminous Elliptical Galaxies

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Using Chandra X-ray observations of nine nearby, X-ray luminous elliptical galaxies with good optical velocity dispersion measurements, we show that a tight correlation exists between the Bondi accretion rates calculated from the observed gas temperature and density profiles and estimated black hole masses, and the power emerging from these systems in relativistic jets. The jet powers, which are inferred from the energies and timescales required to inflate cavities observed in the surrounding X-ray emitting gas, can be related to the accretion rates using a power law model of the form log (P{sub Bondi}/10{sup 43} erg s{sup -1}) = A + ... continued below

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10 pages

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Allen, Steven W.; /KIPAC, Menlo Park; Dunn, R.J.H.; Fabian, A.C.; /Cambridge U., Inst. of Astron.; Taylor, G.B. et al. March 10, 2006.

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Using Chandra X-ray observations of nine nearby, X-ray luminous elliptical galaxies with good optical velocity dispersion measurements, we show that a tight correlation exists between the Bondi accretion rates calculated from the observed gas temperature and density profiles and estimated black hole masses, and the power emerging from these systems in relativistic jets. The jet powers, which are inferred from the energies and timescales required to inflate cavities observed in the surrounding X-ray emitting gas, can be related to the accretion rates using a power law model of the form log (P{sub Bondi}/10{sup 43} erg s{sup -1}) = A + B log (P{sub jet}/10{sup 43} erg s{sup -1}), with A = 0.62 {+-} 0.15 and B = 0.77 {+-} 0.18. Our results show that a significant fraction of the energy associated with the rest mass of material entering the Bondi accretion radius (2.4{sub -0.7}{sup +1.0} per cent, for P{sub jet} = 10{sup 43} erg s{sup -1}) eventually emerges in the relativistic jets. Our results have significant implications for studies of accretion, jet formation and galaxy formation. The observed tight correlation suggests that the Bondi formulae provide a reasonable description of the accretion process in these systems, despite the likely presence of magnetic pressure and angular momentum in the accreting gas. The similarity of the P{sub Bondi} and P{sub jet} values argues that a significant fraction of the matter entering the accretion radius flows down to regions close to the black holes, where the jets are presumably formed. The tight correlation between P{sub Bondi} and P{sub jet} also suggests that the accretion flows are approximately stable over timescales of a few million years. Our results show that the black hole ''engines'' at the hearts of large elliptical galaxies and groups feed back sufficient energy to stem cooling and star formation, leading naturally to the observed exponential cut off at the bright end of the galaxy luminosity function.

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10 pages

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  • Report No.: SLAC-PUB-11738
  • Grant Number: AC02-76SF00515
  • DOI: 10.2172/877207 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 877207
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc878299

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  • March 10, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Dec. 9, 2016, 6:56 p.m.

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Allen, Steven W.; /KIPAC, Menlo Park; Dunn, R.J.H.; Fabian, A.C.; /Cambridge U., Inst. of Astron.; Taylor, G.B. et al. The Relation Between Accretion Rate And Jet Power in X-Ray Luminous Elliptical Galaxies, report, March 10, 2006; [Menlo Park, California]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc878299/: accessed October 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.