Feeding and feedback in active galaxies

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Ramos Almeida
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87.120,00 €

This research project endeavors to deepen the understanding of the AGN phenomenon and its impact on how galaxies evolve, both from an observational and a theoretical perspective. Four groups of researchers, with proven experience and extensive knowledge and skills in different areas of Extragalactic Astrophysics directly or indirectly related to this objective, will be responsible for carrying it out. From the observational point of view, we intend to make significant contributions to the resolution of some of the most important challenges on AGN research across a wide range of intrinsic luminosities (from LINERs to QSOs), accretion rates (low and high), scales (from the central SMBH to galaxy clusters), and redshifts (from the Local Volume to high-z objects). Among the specific objectives of the project are the study of the physical properties of the central engine, especially in radio loud quasars, the determination of the structure and composition of the obscuring torus in LINERs and Seyferts, and the analysis of the eventual disappearance of the BLR at the lowest AGN luminosities and/or accretion rates. We also intend to contrast the properties of molecular gas, star formation and stellar and gas kinematics in active and normal galaxies and quantify the impact of AGN-induced outflows on their host galaxies. On larger scales, we plan to study the neighborhood from close pairs to galaxy clusters of both radio galaxies and type-1 AGN. Likewise, a substantial part of the proposed theoretical actions is intended to shed light on the relationship between the observed properties of early-type galaxies and their environment, with particular emphasis on their star formation rates and nuclear activity.

Specifically, the aim of this subproject is to understand how low- and high-luminosity AGN are triggered in galaxies and quantify which is the impact of nuclear activity, in particular of quasar-driven outflows, on the host galaxies. AGN feedback is currently considered key to galaxy evolution, but observational confirmation remains elusive. Here we propose a novel approach to evaluate the influence of nuclear activity of galaxy evolution. First, we will perform an unbiased multi-phase outflow census in a representative sample of nearby type-2 quasars. Second, we will determine the impact of these outflows on their host galaxies by looking at galaxy processes occurring on the same timescales as quasar activity (<100 Myr). To do so we will use available infrared and sub-mm observations from the 10.4 m Gran Telescopio CANARIAS, the VLT and ALMA and prepare a strong case for the JWST.

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