4 years ago

Using Real and Simulated Measurements of the Thermal Sunyaev-Zel'dovich Effect to Constrain Models of AGN Feedback.

Evan Scannapieco, Mark Richardson, Alexander Spacek

Energetic feedback from active galactic nuclei (AGNs) is difficult to observe, but often used in simulations to resolve several outstanding issues in galaxy formation. Here we derive new constraints on AGN feedback by comparing observations and simulations of the thermal Sunyaev-Zel'dovich (tSZ) effect, which causes spectral distortions in the cosmic microwave background with signal strengths that are proportional to the total energy deposited into the medium surrounding large galaxies. We draw on observational results presented in Spacek et al. (2016, 2017) who used data from the South Pole Telescope (SPT) and Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) to measure the tSZ signal from >= 10^11 M_Sun and >= 1 Gyr galaxies in the redshift ranges of z=0.5-1.0 (low-z) and z=1.0-1.5 (high-z). Using two large-scale cosmological hydrodynamical simulations, one with AGN feedback (Horizon-AGN) and one without (Horizon-NoAGN), we extract simulated tSZ measurements around a population of galaxies equivalent to those observed. We find that the Horizon-AGN results only differ from the SPT measurements at levels of 0.4 sigma at low-z and 0.5 sigma at high-z, but they differ from the ACT measurements at levels of 6.9 sigma at low-z and 14.6 sigma at high-z. The Horizon-NoAGN results provide a slightly worse fit to the SPT measurements at levels of 1.8 sigma at low-z and 0.6 sigma at high-z, but a drastically better match to the ACT measurements at levels of 0.8 sigma at low-z and 1.9 sigma at high-z. We conclude that, while the lower-mass (<~ 5 x 10^11 M_Sun) SPT results show a hint of AGN feedback energy, the higher-mass (>~ 5 x 10^11 M_Sun) ACT results show significantly less energy than predicted in the simulation including feedback, indicating that AGN feedback may be milder than often predicted.

Publisher URL: http://arxiv.org/abs/1711.05304

DOI: arXiv:1711.05304v1

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