Multi-Scale Modeling of AGN Outbursts & Feedback in M87

Project: Research project

Project Details


Supermassive black holes (SMBHs) are the most efficient and energetic engines in the Universe. As material is funneled from the large-scale galactic reservoir deep into the potential well of the central SMBH, a luminous accretion disk is formed and the system is then classified as an active galactic nuclei (AGN). AGN produce substantial radiative and mechanical outflows, including winds and tightly collimated relativistic jets, which then propagate through the galaxy. Chandra has a long-standing history of observing AGN. In particular, M87 – one of the nearest jetted AGN – is an ideal candidate for understanding how SMBHs interact with their hot, gas-rich environments. Radio and Chandra X-ray observations of M87 have recorded large outbursts over the past 150 Myr, with a recent one occurring 12 Myr ago and lasting ~ 2 Myr, with energy ~ 5 x 10(57) erg. Modeling of this particular outburst has shown that only ~ 1/5 of the energy is carried by a circular shock while the remaining energy is deposited into a central radio bubble which then heats the interstellar medium (ISM). However, there has been no self-consistent study connecting the outburst and its effect on the ISM at large radii to the origin of the outburst near the SMBH. Here, we propose to model, for the first time and from first-principles, the past 12 Myr of M87’s outbursts and their effects on the ISM, while connecting the SMBH to the galaxy.
Effective start/end date1/11/215/10/23


  • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (TM1-22005X Amd 2 // NAS8-03060)
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (TM1-22005X Amd 2 // NAS8-03060)


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