Hot and cold gas accretion and feedback in radio-loud active galaxies
We have recently shown that X-ray observations of the population of ‘low-excitation’ radio galaxies, which includesmost low-power, Fanaroff-Riley class I sources as well as some more powerful Fanaroff-Riley class II objects, are consistent with a model in which the active nuclei of these objects are not radiatively efficient at any waveband. In another recent paper Allen et al. have shown that Bondi accretion of the hot, X-ray emitting phase of the intergalactic medium (IGM) is sufficient to power the jets of several nearby, low-power radio galaxies at the centres of clusters. In this paper we combine these ideas and suggest that accretion of the hot phase of the IGM is sufficient to power all low-excitation radio sources, while highexcitation sources are powered by accretion of cold gas that is in general unrelated to the hot IGM. This model explains a number of properties of the radio-loud active galaxy population, and has important implications for the energy input of radio-loud active galactic nuclei into the hot phase of the IGM: the energy supply of powerful high-excitation sources does not have a direct connection to the hot phase.