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Keywords:

  • hydrodynamics – methods: numerical;
  • ISM: clouds;
  • galaxies: jets;
  • galaxies: ISM;
  • galaxies: star formation

ABSTRACT

Feedback from active galactic nuclei (AGN) has become a major component in simulations of galaxy evolution, in particular for massive galaxies. AGN jets have been shown to provide a large amount of energy and are capable of quenching cooling flows. Their impact on the host galaxy, however, is still not understood. Subgrid models of AGN activity in a galaxy evolution context so far have been mostly focused on the quenching of star formation. To shed more light on the actual physics of the ‘radio mode' part of AGN activity, we have performed simulations of the interaction of a powerful AGN jet with the massive gaseous disc (inline image) of a high-redshift galaxy. We spatially resolve both the jet and the clumpy, multi-phase interstellar medium (ISM) and include an explicit star formation model in the simulation. Following the system over more than 107 yr, we find that the jet activity excavates the central region, but overall causes a significant change to the shape of the density probability distribution function and hence the star formation rate due to the formation of a blast wave with strong compression and cooling in the ISM. This results in a ring- or disc-shaped population of young stars. At later times, the increase in star formation rate also occurs in the disc regions further out since the jet cocoon pressurizes the ISM. The total mass of the additionally formed stars may be up to inline image for one duty cycle. We discuss the details of this jet-induced star formation (positive feedback) and its potential consequences for galaxy evolution and observable signatures.