Univ. NICE
Prof. Nicole Nesvadba
Active Galactic Nuclei & Star Formation in Galaxies
(S3, elective, 6 ECTS)
Learning Outcomes:Super massive black holes residing in the nuclei of massive galaxies are considered key for regulating the growth of their host galaxies and the formation of large-scale structure. Accretion of matter leads to an immense energy output from these black holes, in particular through radio jets. If only a small fraction of the kinetic energy carried by these jets can be efficiently deposited in the ambient gas (AGNfeedback), then this might be enough to terminate the rapid growth of massive galaxies in the early Universe, and to keep these galaxies devoid of gas and star formation until the present day. In this lecture we will discuss why AGN feedback is one of the central ingredients of galaxy evolution and cosmic structure formation today. We will also examine the interplay of the AGN energy output, gas properties, and star formation in nearby galaxies, to follow the distribution of kinetic energy in the interstellar gas, and to investigate what impact this has on the formation of stars.
Knowledge and Understanding:
The students will carry out a scaled-down version of a state-of-the art research project combining VLT imaging spectroscopy, ALMA millimeter radio interferometry, and VLA cm radio interferometry with results from relativistic hydrodynamical simulations.
Applying Knowledge and Understanding:Depending on the number of students, we will split the program into several intertwined parts. Each student will learn how to extract information on either gas kinematics, gas heating processes, or star formation histories from imaging spectroscopic or interferometric data cubes for the same galaxy. Subsequently, we will compare the results for each aspect, and interpret all elements together in the context of AGN feedback models.

PrerequisitesFundamental courses: General Astrophysics (required). A basic understanding of astrophysical spectroscopy would be highly appreciated, but is not a strict requirement. Basic computing skills (Python) are mandatory for this project.
ProgramTHEORY: Physics of radio-jet driven AGN feed-back in galaxies and role for galaxy evolution. Multiwave length imaging spectroscopy of gas in galaxies and spectral line fitting. APPLICATIONS: Analysis of imaging spectroscopic (or interferometric) data cubes from leading ground-based observatories in the optical (VLT) and radio (ALMA,VLA): Fitting Emission And Absorption Lines, mapping of the gas kinematics (linewidths, velocities) or gas heating, and comparison with xm radio imaging to extract information out how the radio jet affects the gas motion e.g., through injecting turbulence and driving out flows. Comparison of different gas phases, with the star-formation histories derived from optical spectra, and with the results of numerical simulations.
Description of how the course is conductedFirstweek: General introduction into the topic, and study of the relevant literature. 2ndweek on: Data analysis and interpretation, in parallel to a continuing study and discussion of the relevant literature. Last week: Synthesis of then all results, and preparation of the oral presentation
Description of the didactic methodsPowerpoint
Description of the evaluation methodsSeveral short talks discussing salient papers(30%). A written report of the scientific context and results(30%). Final oral defense(40%)
Adopted Textbooks•Cattaneo et al.(2009), Nat,460, 213 •Best et al. (2014), ARA&A 26,52 •Nesvadba et al.(2021), A&A in press
Recommended readingsSee above