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Events at Physics

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Astronomy Colloquium
"The role of cosmic rays in stellar and supermassive black hole feedback"
Date: Thursday, May 12th
Time: 3:30 pm
Place: 4421 Sterling Hall, Coffee and Cookies 3:30 PM, Talk at 3:45 PM
Speaker: Mateusz Ruszkowski, University of Michigan, Department of Astronomy
Abstract: I will discuss the role of cosmic rays in stellar and supermassive black hole feedback. I will argue that cosmic rays are likely to play a very important role across a large range of distance scales -- from the scales of individual galaxies to the scales comparable to those of cool cores of galaxy clusters. Regarding the galactic scale feedback, I will focus on supernova and cosmic ray driven winds but will also briefly discuss black hole feedback model for the Fermi bubbles. Galactic outflows play an important role in galaxy evolution and, despite their importance, a detailed understanding of the physical mechanisms responsible for the driving of these winds is lacking. Although cosmic rays comprise only a tiny fraction of interstellar particles by number, they carry energy comparable to that in the thermal gas. I will describe a suite of global 3D MHD numerical simulations that focus on the dynamical role of cosmic rays injected by supernovae, and specifically on the impact of cosmic ray streaming along the magnetic fields. Our results show that this microphysical effect can have a significant impact on the wind launching depending on the details of the plasma physics. Regarding the feedback on galaxy cluster scales, I will briefly discuss preliminary results from our simulations of black hole jets in cool cores of galaxy clusters including the effects of cosmic rays. I will argue that cosmic ray heating of the intracluster medium (ICM) may be an important heating mechanism both in the tenuous and cold phases of the ICM. While largely an unexplored territory in the context of galactic winds and AGN feedback, cosmic ray feedback is an important process facilitating launching and efficient driving of galactic-scale winds in starburst galaxies and heating of the ICM and remains the subject of intense research.
Host: Professor Robert Mathieu
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