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Feedback from quasars in star-forming galaxies and the triggering of massive galactic winds


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      The shining of quasars is a likely trigger of massive galatic winds, able to remove most ISM from a star-forming spheroid. However, the mechanism responsible for the deposition of energy into the ISM is still unclear. Starting from a model for feedback in galaxy formation with a two-phase medium (Monaco 2004a), we propose that the perturbation induced by radiative heating from a quasar on the ISM triggers a critical change of feedback regime. In the feedback model, SNRs expanding in the hot and pressurized phase of a star-forming spheroid tipically become pressure-confined before the hot interior gas is able to cool. Whenever the evaporation flow due to radiative heating of the quasar is significant with respect to the star-formation rate, the SNRs reach the point where their interior gas cools before being confined, forming a thick cold shell. We show that in this conditions the shells percolate into a super-shell of cold gas that sweeps the whole galaxy. Radiation pressure then pushes the shell out of the galaxy. This self-limiting mechanism leads to a correlation between black hole and bulge masses. The insertion of a motivated wind trigger criterion in a hierarchical galaxy formation model shows however that winds are not necessary to obtain a good black hole--bulge correlation. In absence of winds, good results are obtained if the mechanism responsible for the creation of a reservoir of low-angular momentum gas (able to accrete onto the black hole) deposits mass at a rate proportional to the star-formation rate. Using a novel galaxy formation model, we show under which conditions black hole masses are self-limited by the wind mechanism described above, and outline the possible observational consequences of this self-limitation. [Abridged]

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      07 February 2005
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      14 pages, 7 ps figures included, uses mn2e.cls. MNRAS, in press


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