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Investigating the Effect of Galaxy Interactions on the Enhancement of Active Galactic Nuclei at 0.5 < z < 3.0

Shah, Ekta A. and Kartaltepe, Jeyhan S. and Magagnoli, Christina T. and Cox, Isabella G. and Wetherell, Caleb T. and Vanderhoof, Brittany N. and Calabro, Antonello and Chartab, Nima and Conselice, Christopher J. and Croton, Darren J. and Donley, Jennifer and de Groot, Laura and de la Vega, Alexander and Hathi, Nimish P. and Ilbert, Olivier and Inami, Hanae and Kocevski, Dale D. and Koekemoer, Anton M. and Lemaux, Brian C. and Mantha, Kameswara Bharadwaj and Marchesi, Stefano and Martig, Marie and Masters, Daniel C. and McGrath, Elizabeth J. and McIntosh, Daniel H. and Moreno, Jorge and Nayyeri, Hooshang and Alcalde Pampliega, Belen and Salvato, Mara and Snyder, Gregory F. and Straughn, Amber N. and Treister, Ezequiel and Weston, Madalyn E. (2020) Investigating the Effect of Galaxy Interactions on the Enhancement of Active Galactic Nuclei at 0.5 < z < 3.0. Astrophysical Journal, 904 (2). Art. No. 107. ISSN 1538-4357.

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Galaxy interactions and mergers are thought to play an important role in the evolution of galaxies. Studies in the nearby universe show a higher fraction of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) in interacting and merging galaxies than in their isolated counterparts, indicating that such interactions are important contributors to black hole growth. To investigate the evolution of this role at higher redshifts, we have compiled the largest known sample of major spectroscopic galaxy pairs (2381 with ΔV < 5000 km s⁻¹) at 0.5 < z < 3.0 from observations in the COSMOS and CANDELS surveys. We identify X-ray and IR AGNs among this kinematic pair sample, a visually identified sample of mergers and interactions, and a mass-, redshift-, and environment-matched control sample for each in order to calculate AGN fractions and the level of AGN enhancement as a function of relative velocity, redshift, and X-ray luminosity. While we see a slight increase in AGN fraction with decreasing projected separation, overall, we find no significant enhancement relative to the control sample at any separation. In the closest projected separation bin (< 25 kpc, ΔV < 1000 km s⁻¹), we find enhancements of a factor of 0.94^(+0.21)_(-0.16) and 1.00^(+0.58)_(-0.31) for X-ray and IR-selected AGNs, respectively. While we conclude that galaxy interactions do not significantly enhance AGN activity on average over 0.5 < z < 3.0 at these separations, given the errors and the small sample size at the closest projected separations, our results would be consistent with the presence of low-level AGN enhancement.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Shah, Ekta A.0000-0001-7811-9042
Kartaltepe, Jeyhan S.0000-0001-9187-3605
Magagnoli, Christina T.0000-0001-6333-8090
Cox, Isabella G.0000-0002-1803-794X
Calabro, Antonello0000-0003-2536-1614
Chartab, Nima0000-0003-3691-937X
Conselice, Christopher J.0000-0003-1949-7638
Croton, Darren J.0000-0002-5009-512X
Donley, Jennifer0000-0002-6589-2017
de la Vega, Alexander0000-0002-6219-5558
Hathi, Nimish P.0000-0001-6145-5090
Ilbert, Olivier0000-0002-7303-4397
Inami, Hanae0000-0003-4268-0393
Koekemoer, Anton M.0000-0002-6610-2048
Lemaux, Brian C.0000-0002-1428-7036
Marchesi, Stefano0000-0001-5544-0749
Martig, Marie0000-0001-5454-1492
Masters, Daniel C.0000-0001-5382-6138
Moreno, Jorge0000-0002-3430-3232
Nayyeri, Hooshang0000-0001-8242-9983
Alcalde Pampliega, Belen0000-0002-4140-0428
Salvato, Mara0000-0001-7116-9303
Snyder, Gregory F.0000-0002-4226-304X
Straughn, Amber N.0000-0002-4772-7878
Treister, Ezequiel0000-0001-7568-6412
Alternate Title:Investigating the Effect of Galaxy Interactions on AGN Enhancement at 0.5 < z < 3.0
Additional Information:© 2020 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2020 May 29; revised 2020 October 2; accepted 2020 October 5; published 2020 November 25. We thank the anonymous reviewer for their critical reading of the manuscript and for providing detailed and insightful comments, which greatly enhanced the quality and clarity of the paper. Support for this work was provided by NASA through grants HST-GO-13657.010-A and HST-AR-14298.004-A awarded by the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555. Support was also provided by NASA through grant NNX16AB36G as part of the Astrophysics Data Analysis Program. This work was also supported by start-up funds and the Dean's Research Initiation Grant fund from the Rochester Institute of Technology's College of Science. Spectral energy distribution fitting was performed using the computational resources and support from Research Computing Services at the Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester Institute of Technology 2019). E.S. thanks the LSSTC Data Science Fellowship Program, which is funded by LSSTC, NSF Cybertraining Grant #1829740, the Brinson Foundation, and the Moore Foundation; her participation in the program has benefited this work. H.I. acknowledges support from JSPS KAKENHI Grant No. JP19K23462. E.T. acknowledges support from FONDECYT Regular 1190818, ANID PIA ACT172033 and Basal-CATA AFB170002. Some of the data presented herein were obtained at the W. M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation. Based in part on observations obtained at the international Gemini Observatory and processed using the Gemini IRAF package (Tody & Crawford 1986; Tody 1993), a program of NOIRLab, which is managed by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. on behalf of the Gemini Observatory partnership: the National Science Foundation (United States), National Research Council (Canada), Agencia Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo (Chile), Ministerio de Ciencia, Tecnología e Innovación (Argentina), Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia, Inovações e Comunicações (Brazil), and Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (Republic of Korea). The authors wish to recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that the summit of Maunakea has always had within the indigenous Hawaiian community. We are most fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct observations from this mountain. This work is also based in part on observations made with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained from the Data Archive at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS 5-26555, observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology under a contract with NASA, and observations made by the Chandra X-ray Observatory and published previously in cited articles. Software: LePhare (Arnouts et al. 2002; Ilbert et al. 2006), MAGPHYS (da Cunha et al. 2008), SpecPro (Masters & Capak 2011), spec2d IDL pipeline (Cooper et al. 2012b; Newman et al. 2013), IRAF (Tody & Crawford 1986; Tody 1993).
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASANAS 5-26555
Rochester Institute of TechnologyUNSPECIFIED
Large Synoptic Survey Telescope CorporationUNSPECIFIED
Brinson FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS)JP19K23462
Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Científico y Tecnológico (FONDECYT)1190818
Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (CONICYT)PIA ACT172033
W. M. Keck FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:Active galactic nuclei ; Galaxy interactions ; Galaxy mergers ; Extragalactic astronomy ; Galaxy pairs ; Interacting galaxies ; High-redshift galaxies
Issue or Number:2
Classification Code:Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: Active galactic nuclei (16); Galaxy interactions (600); Galaxy mergers (608); Extragalactic astronomy (506); Galaxy pairs (610); Interacting galaxies (802); High-redshift galaxies (734)
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20201125-105254431
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Ekta A. Shah et al 2020 ApJ 904 107
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:106827
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:25 Nov 2020 19:09
Last Modified:25 Nov 2020 19:09

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