Lanzuisi, G. and Piconcelli, E. and Fiore, F. and Feruglio, C. and Vignali, C. and Salvato, M. and Gruppioni, C. (2009) Revealing X-ray obscured quasars in SWIRE sources with extreme mid-IR/optical flux ratios. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 498 (1). pp. 67-81. ISSN 0004-6361 http://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20090901-091448170
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Recent works have suggested that selection criteria based on mid-IR properties, i.e. extreme colors and bright flux levels, can be used to reveal a population of dust-enshrouded, extremely-luminous quasars at z ~ 1–2. However, the X-ray spectral properties of these intriguing objects still remain largely unexplored. We have performed an X-ray study of a large sample of bright mid-IR (F_(24 μm) > 1.3 mJy) galaxies showing an extreme MIR/Optical flux ratio (F_(24 μm)/F_R > 2000) in order to confirm the presence of a luminous active nucleus in these very red objects. Sampling of a large area is required to pick up objects at the highest luminosities given their low surface density. Accordingly, we have applied our selection criteria to an area of ~6 deg^2 covered by XMM-Newton/Chandra observations within the ~50 deg^2 SWIRE survey, resulting in a final sample of 44 objects. The vast majority of the source redshifts, both spectroscopic and photometric, are in the range 0.7 ≾ z ≾ 2.5. The X-ray coverage of the sample is highly inhomogeneous (from snap-shot 5 ks Chandra observations to medium-deep XMM-Newton exposures of 70 ks) and, consequently, a sizable fraction of them (≈43%) remains undetected in the 0.5–10 keV band. Using spectral or hardness information we were able to estimate the value of the absorbing column density in 23 sources. 95% of them are consistent with being obscured by neutral gas with an intrinsic column density of NH ≥ 1022 cm^(−2). Remarkably, we also find that ~55% of these sources can be classified as type 2 quasars on the basis of their absorption properties and X-ray luminosity. Moreover, most of the X-ray undetected sources show extreme mid-IR colors, consistent with being luminous AGN-powered objects, suggesting they might host heavily obscured (possibly Compton-thick) quasars in X-rays. This demonstrates that our selection criteria applied to a wide area survey is very efficient in finding a large number of type 2 quasars at z ≳ 1. The existence of this class of very powerful, obscured quasars at high z could have important implications in the context of the formation and cosmological evolution of accreting supermassive black holes and their host galaxies.
|Additional Information:||© ESO 2009. Received 3 November 2008 / Accepted 6 February 2009. The authors are very grateful to the referee for the exhaustive list of helpful comments and her/his prompt response. We thank for support the Italian Space Agency (contracts ASI-INAF I/023/05/0, ASI I/088/06/0 and PRIN MIUR 2006-02-5203). The authors kindly thank Simonetta Puccetti, Mari Polletta and Roberto Maiolino for many useful comments. Based on observations obtained with XMM-Newton, an ESA science mission with instruments and contributions directly funded by ESA Member States and NASA.|
|Subject Keywords:||galaxies: active; galaxies: high-redshift; galaxies: nuclei; infrared: galaxies; X-rays: galaxies|
|Official Citation:||Revealing X-ray obscured quasars in SWIRE sources with extreme mid-IR/optical flux ratios G. Lanzuisi, E. Piconcelli, F. Fiore, C. Feruglio, C. Vignali, M. Salvato and C. Gruppioni A&A 498 (1) 67-81 (2009) DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/200811282.|
|Usage Policy:||No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.|
|Deposited By:||Tony Diaz|
|Deposited On:||03 Sep 2009 17:44|
|Last Modified:||26 Dec 2012 11:17|
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