Support for the "Radiation-regulated" Model of Black Hole Growth

10 September 2022

The growth of supermassive black holes and the relationship of that growth to the black hole’s surroundings is a key ingredient in understanding galaxy evolution. In “BASS XXXVII: The role of radiative feedback in the growth and obscuration properties of nearby supermassive black holes” (Ricci+) we use measurements of (normalized) black hole luminosity and the amount of material obscuring our view to the black hole to identify a relationship between the two. The observed correspondence suggests and supports a model of black hole growth where gas builds up early in a black hole’s active phase, both increasing the luminosity of the black hole and obscuring this activity. If the luminosity reaches the point where it exceeds the gravitational binding energy (i.e., the Eddington luminosity for dusty gas), the gas is rapidly expelled, revealing the AGN and potentially leading to the eventual cessation of fueling.

The paper has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal and a preprint is available at the link above.