UC San Diego
The AGN origin of cluster magnetic fields
- Author(s): Xu, Hao
- et al.
The origin of magnetic fields in galaxy clusters is one of the most fascinating but challenging problems in astrophysics. In this dissertation, the possibility of an Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN) origin of cluster magnetic fields is studied through state of the art simulations of magnetic field evolution in large scale structure formation using a newly developed cosmological Adaptive Mesh Refinement (AMR) Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) code -- EnzoMHD. After presenting a complete but concise description and verification of the code, we discuss the creation of magnetic fields through the Biermann Battery effect during first star formation and galaxy cluster formation. We find that magnetic fields are produced as predicted by theory in both cases. For the first star formation, we obtain a lower limit of (̃ 10⁻⁹ G) for magnetic fields when the first generation stars form. On the other hand, we find that the magnetic energy is amplified 4 orders of magnitude within ̃ 10 Gyr during cluster formation. We then study magnetic field injection from AGN into the Intra-Cluster Medium (ICM) and their impact on the ICM. We reproduce the X-ray cavities as well as weak shocks seen in observations in the simulation, and further confirm the idea that AGN outburst must contain lots of magnetic energy (up to 10⁶¹ ergs) and the magnetic fields play an important part in the formation of jet/lobe system. We present high resolution simulations of cluster formation with magnetic fields injected from high redshift AGN. We find that these local magnetic fields are spread quickly throughout the whole cluster by cluster mergers. The ICM is in a turbulent state with a Kolmogorov-like power spectrum. Magnetic fields are amplified to and maintained at the observational level of a few \[mu\]G by bulk flows at large scale and the ICM turbulence at small scale. The total magnetic energy increases about 25 times to ̃ 1.2 x 10