As galaxies merge in the standard hierarchical scenario of galaxy formation, their central Black Holes also can merge and grow. The violent dynamics of the galaxy merger will deliver a significant amount of gas and stars to the central regions of the galaxy further growing the central Black Hole and fueling an Active Galactic Nucleus.
We perform state-of-art numerical simulations of this merging process using N-body simulations and gas dynamics. These simulations resolved the dynamics in the central kiloparsec of the merging galaxies, and enable us to follow the sinking of the Black Holes to the center via dynamical friction up to the formation of binary Black Holes. Critical to this process is the state of the surrounding gas which we follow with an equation of state that includes star formation and supernova feedback.
This work is supported by a grant from NASA.