University of Hertfordshire

From the same journal

From the same journal

By the same authors


  • S. Peirani
  • Y. Dubois
  • M. Volonteri
  • J.E.G. Devriendt
  • K. Bundy
  • J. Silk
  • C. Pichon
  • S. Kaviraj
  • R. Gavazzi
  • M. Habouzit
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Original languageEnglish
Article numberstx2099
Pages (from-to)2153-2169
Number of pages17
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Early online date16 Aug 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017


Using a suite of three large cosmological hydrodynamical simulations, Horizon-AGN, Horizon-noAGN (no AGN feedback) and Horizon-DM (no baryons), we investigate how a typical sub-grid model for AGN feedback affects the evolution of the inner density profiles of massive dark matter haloes and galaxies. Based on direct object-to-object comparisons, we find that the integrated inner mass and density slope differences between objects formed in these three simulations (hereafter, H_AGN, H_noAGN and H_DM) significantly evolve with time. More specifically, at high redshift (z~5), the mean central density profiles of H_AGN and H_noAGN dark matter haloes tend to be much steeper than their H_DM counterparts owing to the rapidly growing baryonic component and ensuing adiabatic contraction. By z~1.5, these mean halo density profiles in H_AGN have flattened, pummelled by powerful AGN activity ("quasar mode"): the integrated inner mass difference gaps with H_noAGN haloes have widened, and those with H_DM haloes have narrowed. Fast forward 9.5 billion years, down to z=0, and the trend reverses: H_AGN halo mean density profiles drift back to a more cusped shape as AGN feedback efficiency dwindles ("radio mode"), and the gaps in integrated central mass difference with H_noAGN and H_DM close and broaden respectively. On the galaxy side, the story differs noticeably. Averaged stellar profile central densities and inner slopes are monotonically reduced by AGN activity as a function of cosmic time, resulting in better agreement with local observations. As both dark matter and stellar inner density profiles respond quite sensitively to the presence of a central AGN, there is hope that future observational determinations of these quantities can be used constrain AGN feedback models.


This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. ©: 2017 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society.

ID: 12744850