Most galaxies in the Universe host black holes with masses million to billion times larger than the mass of the Sun. Radiation, winds and jets from accreting black holes in Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) can inject energy into the interstellar medium, heat or sweep it, and thus stop star formation and choke nuclear activity for shortage of nuclear fuel. X-rays are the ideal band to study this “AGN feedback”, because they probe the kinematically dominant components of AGN-driven outflows (the “quasar mode”), as well as the morphological disturbances that powerful jets produce in the million-degree plasma permeating galaxy clusters and groups. While a mounting corpus of observational data has been gathered by modern X-ray observatories (Chandra, Suzaku, XMM- Newton), basic physical processes underpinning AGN feedback are still to be understood due to the lack of energy resolution, effective area, or high-resolution imaging-spectroscopic capabilities. What is/are the AGN outflow launching mechanism/s? What is the structure, energy and mass budget of the most powerful outflows? How is energy transferred from the nuclear scale to the host galaxy and beyond, to the intra-cluster medium? In this talk, I will show how future X-ray observatories such the JAXA X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM, launch ~2022), and the ESA Athena (launch ~2030s) will allow us to ultimately answer these questions.
AGN Feedback in the Athena and XRISM era