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A Galaxy-scale Fountain of Cold Molecular Gas Pumped by a Black Hole

Tremblay, G.R.; Combes, F.; Oonk, J.B.R.; Russell, H.R.; McDonald, M.A.; Gaspari, M.; Husemann, B.; Nulsen, P.E.J.; McNamara, B.R.; Hamer, S.L.; O’Dea, C.P.; Baum, S.A.; Davis, T.A.; Donahue, M.; Voit, G.M.; Edge, A.C.; Blanton, E.L.; Bremer, M.N.; Bulbul, E.; Clarke, T.E.; David, L.P.; Edwards, L.O.V.; Eggerman, D.; Fabian, A.C.; Forman, W.; Jones, C.; Kerman, N.; Kraft, R.P.; Li, Y.; Powell, M.; Randall, S.W.; Salomé, P.; Simionescu, A.; Su, Y.; Sun, M.; Urry, C.M.; Vantyghem, A.N.; Wilkes, B.J.; ZuHone, J.A.

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G.R. Tremblay

F. Combes

J.B.R. Oonk

H.R. Russell

M.A. McDonald

M. Gaspari

B. Husemann

P.E.J. Nulsen

B.R. McNamara

S.L. Hamer

C.P. O’Dea

S.A. Baum

T.A. Davis

M. Donahue

G.M. Voit

E.L. Blanton

M.N. Bremer

E. Bulbul

T.E. Clarke

L.P. David

L.O.V. Edwards

D. Eggerman

A.C. Fabian

W. Forman

C. Jones

N. Kerman

R.P. Kraft

Y. Li

M. Powell

S.W. Randall

P. Salomé

A. Simionescu

Y. Su

M. Sun

C.M. Urry

A.N. Vantyghem

B.J. Wilkes

J.A. ZuHone


We present Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array and Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer observations of the brightest cluster galaxy in Abell 2597, a nearby (z = 0.0821) cool core cluster of galaxies. The data map the kinematics of a three billion solar mass filamentary nebula that spans the innermost 30 kpc of the galaxy's core. Its warm ionized and cold molecular components are both cospatial and comoving, consistent with the hypothesis that the optical nebula traces the warm envelopes of many cold molecular clouds that drift in the velocity field of the hot X-ray atmosphere. The clouds are not in dynamical equilibrium, and instead show evidence for inflow toward the central supermassive black hole, outflow along the jets it launches, and uplift by the buoyant hot bubbles those jets inflate. The entire scenario is therefore consistent with a galaxy-spanning "fountain," wherein cold gas clouds drain into the black hole accretion reservoir, powering jets and bubbles that uplift a cooling plume of low-entropy multiphase gas, which may stimulate additional cooling and accretion as part of a self-regulating feedback loop. All velocities are below the escape speed from the galaxy, and so these clouds should rain back toward the galaxy center from which they came, keeping the fountain long lived. The data are consistent with major predictions of chaotic cold accretion, precipitation, and stimulated feedback models, and may trace processes fundamental to galaxy evolution at effectively all mass scales.


Tremblay, G., Combes, F., Oonk, J., Russell, H., McDonald, M., Gaspari, M., …ZuHone, J. (2018). A Galaxy-scale Fountain of Cold Molecular Gas Pumped by a Black Hole. Astrophysical Journal, 865(1), Article 13.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 28, 2018
Online Publication Date Sep 17, 2018
Publication Date Sep 17, 2018
Deposit Date Oct 4, 2018
Publicly Available Date Oct 4, 2018
Journal Astrophysical Journal
Print ISSN 0004-637X
Publisher American Astronomical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 865
Issue 1
Article Number 13


Published Journal Article (3.8 Mb)

Copyright Statement
© 2018. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

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