Impact of red giant/AGB winds on active galactic nucleus jet propagation
1 Dept. d’Astronomia i Astrofísica, Universitat de València, C/ Dr. Moliner 50, 46100 Burjassot ( València), Spain
2 Observatori Astronòmic, Universitat de València, C/ Catedràtic José Beltrán 2, 46980 Paterna ( València), Spain
3 Departament de Física Quàntica i Astrofísica, Institut de Ciències del Cosmos (ICCUB), Universitat de Barcelona, IEEC-UB, Martí i Franquès 1, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
4 Astrophysical Big Bang Laboratory, RIKEN, 351-0198 Saitama, Japan
5 DESY, Platanenallee 6, 15738 Zeuthen, Germany
6 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Purdue University, 525 Northwestern Avenue, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2036, USA
Received: 22 November 2016
Accepted: 16 June 2017
Context. Dense stellar winds may mass-load the jets of active galactic nuclei, although it is unclear on what time and spatial scales the mixing takes place.
Aims. Our aim is to study the first steps of the interaction between jets and stellar winds, and also the scales on which the stellar wind mixes with the jet and mass-loads it.
Methods. We present a detailed 2D simulation – including thermal cooling – of a bubble formed by the wind of a star designed to study the initial stages of jet-star interaction. We also study the first interaction of the wind bubble with the jet using a 3D simulation in which the star enters the jet. Stability analysis is carried out for the shocked wind structure to evaluate the distances over which the jet-dragged wind, which forms a tail, can propagate without mixing with the jet flow.
Results.The 2D simulations point to quick wind bubble expansion and fragmentation after about one bubble shock crossing time. Three-dimensional simulations and stability analysis point to local mixing in the case of strong perturbations and relatively low density ratios between the jet and the jet dragged-wind, and to a possibly more stable shocked wind structure at the phase of maximum tail mass flux. Analytical estimates also indicate that very early stages of the star jet-penetration time may be also relevant for mass-loading. The combination of these and previous results from the literature suggests highly unstable interaction structures and efficient wind-jet flow mixing on the scale of the jet interaction height.
Conclusions. The winds of stars with strong mass loss can efficiently mix with jets from active galactic nuclei. In addition, the initial wind bubble shocked by the jet leads to a transient, large interaction surface. The interaction between jets and stars can produce strong inhomogeneities within the jet. As mixing is expected to be effective on large scales, even individual asymptotic giant branch stars can significantly contribute to the mass-load of the jet and thus affect its dynamics. Shear layer mass-entrainment could be important. The interaction structure can be a source of significant non-thermal emission.
Key words: galaxies: active / galaxies: jets / relativistic processes / shock waves
© ESO, 2017