The Impact of Nuclear Star Formation on Gas Inflow to AGN

R.~I. Davies, E. Hicks, M. Schartmann, R. Genzel, L.~J. Tacconi, H. Engel, A. Burkert, M. Krause, A. Sternberg, F. Mueller Sánchez, W. Maciejewski

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Our adaptive optics observations of nearby AGN at spatial resolutions as small as 0.″085 show strong evidence for recent, but no longer active, nuclear star formation. We begin by describing observations that highlight two contrasting methods by which gas can flow into the central tens of parsecs. Gas accumulation in this region will inevitably lead to a starburst, and we discuss the evidence for such events. We then turn to the impact of stellar evolution on the further inflow of gas by combining a phenomenological approach with analytical modelling and hydrodynamic simulations. These complementary perspectives paint a picture in which all the processes are ultimately regulated by the mass accretion rate into the central hundred parsecs, and the ensuing starburst that occurs there. The resulting supernovae delay accretion by generating a starburst wind, which leaves behind a clumpy interstellar medium. This provides an ideal environment for slower stellar outflows to accrete inwards and form a dense turbulent disk on scales of a few parsecs. Such a scenario may resolve the discrepancy between the larger scale structure seen with adaptive optics and the small-scale structure seen with VLTI.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
EditorsB.~M. Peterson, R.~S. Somerville, T. Storchi-Bergmann
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)9780521765022
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jun 2010

Publication series

NameIAU Symposium


  • galaxies: active, galaxies: kinematics and dynamics, galaxies: nuclei, galaxies: Seyfert, galaxies: starburst, infrared: galaxies


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