Triggering active galactic nuclei in galaxy clusters

Madeline A. Marshall*, Stanislav S. Shabala, Martin G. H. Krause, Kevin A. Pimbblet, Darren J. Croton, Matt S. Owers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


We model the triggering of active galactic nuclei (AGN) in galaxy clusters using the semianalytic galaxy formation model SAGE. We prescribe triggering methods based on the ram pressure galaxies experience as they move throughout the intracluster medium, which is hypothesized to trigger star formation and AGN activity. The clustercentric radius and velocity distribution of the simulated active galaxies produced by thesemodels are compared with those of AGN and galaxies with intense star formation from a sample of low-redshift relaxed clusters from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. The ram pressure triggering model that best explains the clustercentric radius and velocity distribution of these observed galaxies has AGN and star formation triggered if 2.5 × 10-14 Pa < Pram < 2.5 × 10-13 Pa and Pram > 2Pinternal; this is consistent with expectations from hydrodynamical simulations of ram-pressure-induced star formation. Our results show that ram pressure is likely to be an important mechanism for triggering star formation and AGN activity in clusters.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3615-3628
Number of pages14
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • galaxies: active
  • galaxies: clusters: general
  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: formation

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