An Exploration of AGN and Stellar Feedback Effects in the Intergalactic Medium via the Low-redshift Lyα Forest

Megan Taylor Tillman, Blakesley Burkhart, Stephanie Tonnesen, Simeon Bird, Greg L. Bryan, Daniel Anglés-Alcázar, Sultan Hassan, Rachel S. Somerville, Romeel Davé, Federico Marinacci, Lars Hernquist, Mark Vogelsberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We explore the role of galactic feedback on the low-redshift Lyα (Lyα) forest (z ≲ 2) statistics and its potential to alter the thermal state of the intergalactic medium. Using the Cosmology and Astrophysics with Machine Learning Simulations (CAMELS) suite, we explore variations of the AGN and stellar feedback models in the IllustrisTNG and Simba subgrid models. We find that both AGN and stellar feedback in Simba play a role in setting the Lyα forest column density distribution function (CDD) and the Doppler width (b-value) distribution. The Simba AGN jet feedback mode is able to efficiently transport energy out to the diffuse IGM, causing changes in the shape and normalization of the CDD and a broadening of the b-value distribution. We find that stellar feedback plays a prominent role in regulating supermassive black hole growth and feedback, highlighting the importance of constraining stellar and AGN feedback simultaneously. In IllustrisTNG, the AGN feedback variations explored in CAMELS do not affect the Lyα forest, but varying the stellar feedback model does produce subtle changes. Our results imply that the low-z Lyα forest can be sensitive to changes in the ultraviolet background, stellar and black hole feedback, and that AGN jet feedback in particular can have a strong effect on the thermal state of the IGM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number228
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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