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Gamma rays from Fast Black-Hole Winds

Presentation #300.03 in the session Galactic Winds, Outflows, and AGN Feedback.

Published onJul 01, 2023
Gamma rays from Fast Black-Hole Winds

Massive black holes at the centers of galaxies can launch powerful wide-angle winds, which if sustained over time, can unbind the gas from the stellar bulges of galaxies. These winds, also known as ultra-fast outflows (UFOs), may be responsible for the observed scaling relation between the masses of the central black holes and the velocity dispersions of stars in galactic bulges. Propagating through the galaxy, the wind should interact with the interstellar medium creating a strong shock, similar to those observed in supernovae explosions, which is able to accelerate charged particles to high energies. In this talk I'll present the Fermi Large Area Telescope detection of gamma-ray emission from these shocks in a small sample of galaxies exhibiting energetic winds. The detection implies that energetic black-hole winds transfer ~0.04% of their mechanical power to gamma rays. Interpreting the observed γ-ray emission as produced by cosmic rays accelerated at the shock front, we find that the gamma-ray emission may attest to the onset of the wind-host interaction and that these outflows can energize charged particles up to the transition region between Galactic and extragalactic cosmic rays.

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