Dense gas formation and destruction in a simulated Perseus-like galaxy cluster with spin-driven black hole feedback

R. S. Beckmann, Y. Dubois, P. Guillard, P. Salome, V. Olivares, F. Polles, C. Cadiou, F. Combes, S. Hamer, M. D. Lehnert, G. Pineau des Forets

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (SciVal)


Context. Extended filamentary Hα emission nebulae are a striking feature of nearby galaxy clusters but the formation mechanism of the filaments, and the processes which shape their morphology remain unclear. Aims. We conduct an investigation into the formation, evolution and destruction of dense gas in the centre of a simulated, Perseus-like, cluster under the influence of a spin-driven jet. The jet is powered by the supermassive black hole (SMBH) located in the cluster's brightest cluster galaxy. We particularly study the role played by condensation of dense gas from the diffuse intracluster medium, and the impact of direct uplifting of existing dense gas by the jets, in determining the spatial distribution and kinematics of the dense gas. Methods. We present a hydrodynamical simulation of an idealised Perseus-like cluster using the adaptive mesh refinement code RAMSES. Our simulation includes a SMBH that self-consistently tracks its spin evolution via its local accretion, and in turn drives a large-scale jet whose direction is based on the black hole's spin evolution. The simulation also includes a live dark matter (DM) halo, a SMBH free to move in the DM potential, star formation and stellar feedback. Results. We show that the formation and destruction of dense gas is closely linked to the SMBH's feedback cycle, and that its morphology is highly variable throughout the simulation. While extended filamentary structures readily condense from the hot intra-cluster medium, they are easily shattered into an overly clumpy distribution of gas during their interaction with the jet driven outflows. Condensation occurs predominantly onto infalling gas located 5-15 kpc from the centre during quiescent phases of the central AGN, when the local ratio of the cooling time to free fall time falls below 20, i.e. when t cool/t ff < 20. Conclusions. We find evidence for both condensation and uplifting of dense gas, but caution that purely hydrodynamical simulations struggle to effectively regulate the cluster cooling cycle and produce overly clumpy distributions of dense gas morphologies, compared to observation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA60
Early online date21 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

18 pages, 17 Figures. Accepted for publication in A&A


  • Galaxies: clusters: general
  • Galaxies: clusters: intracluster medium
  • Galaxies: jets
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Methods: numerical

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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