The co-evolution between supermassive black holes and their environment is most directly traced by the hot atmospheres of dark matter halos. Cooling of the hot atmosphere supplies the central regions with fresh gas, igniting active galactic nuclei (AGN) with long duty cycles. Outflows from the central engine tightly couple with the surrounding gaseous medium and provide the dominant heating source preventing runaway cooling by carving cavities and driving shocks across the medium. The AGN feedback loop is a key feature of all modern galaxy evolution models. Here we review our knowledge of the AGN feedback process in the specific context of galaxy groups. Galaxy groups are uniquely suited to constrain the mechanisms governing the cooling-heating balance. Unlike in more massive halos, the energy supplied by the central AGN to the hot intragroup medium can exceed the gravitational binding energy of halo gas particles. We report on the state-of-the-art in observations of the feedback phenomenon and in theoretical models of the heating-cooling balance in galaxy groups. We also describe how our knowledge of the AGN feedback process impacts on galaxy evolution models and on large-scale baryon distributions. Finally, we discuss how new instrumentation will answer key open questions on the topic.
- Pub Date:
- May 2021
- Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies;
- Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
- 53 pages, 19 figures, and 1 table. This review article is part of the special issue "The Physical Properties of the Groups of Galaxies", edited by L. Lovisari and S. Ettori. Published in MDPI - Universe: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/universe/special_issues/PPGG