Commission X1 Supermassive Black Holes, Feedback and Galaxy Evolution

Scientific Objectives

Our main goal is to promote the development of research on Supermassive Black Holes, AGN (Active Galactic Nuclei) and star formation feedback and their role in galaxy evolution. With this commission, we aim at fostering interaction between theorists and observers from across the electromagnetic spectrum in order to investigate the interplay among the growth of SMBHs and galaxies, including the effects of the environment. We intend to bridge the studies on feedback from the "galaxy evolution community", that focus mostly on star formation and evolution, and the `"AGN community", which concentrate on feedback from SMBHs, in order to advance our understanding of galaxy evolution. We propose to bring together observers from across the electromagnetic spectrum with theorists to understand the interplay between the growth of supermassive black holes and galaxy evolution, from the earliest epochs to the present day Universe.

To reach this goal, we propose the development and support of the following activities:

  • Work as a forum for discussions about the best observational campaigns;
  • Be a forum for discussion of particular objects or classes of objects to be observed along with needed multi-wavelength surveys;
  • Propose and organize meetings, especially IAU Symposia;
  • Be a forum of discussion about theory and simulations, supporting the dissemination of computing codes;
  • Plan and coordinate sessions at IAU General Assemblies;
  • Prepare a quarterly newsletter to announce meeting deadlines, key science advances, opportunities for collaboration, observing proposal deadlines.

Scientific Justification:

The physical processes that couple the growth of supermassive black holes (SMBH) to their host galaxies -- the so-called feedback processes, are now necessary ingredients in galaxy evolution models, not only regulating the growth of the galaxies but also influencing their environment. Observations of radio jets extending to hundred thousand kpc's, of their interaction with ambient gas producing X-ray, optical and infrared emission, relic X-ray cavities observed in galaxy clusters, outflows observed in neutral, ionized and molecular gas, are all observed manifestations of these feedback phenomena. The interplay between the star formation in galaxies and these phenomena are subjects that require a close collaboration between galaxy evolution specialists and researchers studying the effect Active Galactic Nuclei on their host galaxies and vice-versa. Also, a coordinated multi-wavelength observational and combined theoretical effort is key to advancement in this field.

As the relevant observations include observations and phenomena at high energy and cover topics of galaxy evolution and cosmology, Commission X1 is relevant to both Division D (High Energy Phenomena and Fundamental Physics) and Division J (Galaxies and Cosmology). The commission has interfaces with several fields such as the high redshift Universe, central to Division J, and mechanisms of AGN, central to Division D. The scientific program e.g., modeling supermassive black holes and modeling galaxy evolution combined with understanding the effects of AGN on star formation and on the energy balance of the interstellar medium (e.g., hot, a few million degrees in early type galaxies and cool in late type galaxies), requires equal participation and access to the expertise in and coordination by both Divisions. The astronomers with the expertise to organize the intended discussion forums and symposia do not reside solely in one IAU Division, but are members of either IAU Division D or J. Thus, it is appropriate that the proposed commission be equally represented ex-officio on the Steering Committees of each Parent Division, and that there be no "Primary Division".

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