Journal Club


"How supermassive black holes and star-formation sculpt the visible Universe"

Norbert Werner (KIPAC, Stanford University)

In the course of structure formation, only a small fraction of the baryons turned into stars - most remain in a diffuse intergalactic medium. The growth of galaxies is regulated by feedback processes, such as energy and momentum input from supernovae, and jets and winds of accreting supermassive black holes. These processes, collectively called galactic feedback, can limit or even inhibit star formation, and thus a detailed knowledge of how they work is essential for our understanding of galaxy formation and evolution. I will start my talk by presenting recent observational results on the role of supermassive black holes in keeping the most massive galaxies 'red and dead'. Then, I will 'zoom out' to the outskirts of galaxy clusters where we also find hints that supermassive black holes played an important role in the distant past. X-ray observations with the Suzaku satellite reveal a remarkably homogeneous distribution of iron out to the virial radius of the nearby Perseus Cluster, requiring that most of the metal enrichment of the intergalactic medium occurred before the cluster formed, probably more than ten billion years ago, during the period of maximal star formation and black hole activity. Finally, I will talk about the upcoming ASTRO-H satellite which will revolutionize X-ray spectroscopy and our understanding of how feedback processes couple to the intergalactic medium.