Massive molecular outflows and evidence for AGN feedback from CO observations (Cicone et al.)

Vol. 562
In section 4. Extragalactic astronomy

Massive molecular outflows and evidence for AGN feedback from CO observations

by C. Cicone, R. Maiolino, E. Sturm, et al., A&A 562, A21


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Through their energetic activity, massive black holes at the center of galaxies can seriously perturb or moderate the star formation activity and the growth of their hosts. This work has found broad CO wings, hence massive molecular outflows, in 5 out of 7 local ULIRGs and QSO hosts. High outflow rates of several 100 Mo/yr are derived. These can be up to ~100 times the mass transformed into stars per year, demonstrating that these outflows can indeed quench the star formation. The presence of an AGN boosts the outflow rate by a large factor, and then the gas depletion time scales drops to a few million years. This leads to very efficient feedback that is able to completely quench star formation.