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Black hole accretion preferentially occurs in gas-rich galaxies

Vito, F. and Maiolino, R. and Santini, P. and Brusa, M. and Comastri, A. and Cresci, G. and Farrah, D. and Franceschini, A. and Gilli, R. and Granato, G. L. and Gruppioni, C. and Lutz, D. and Mannucci, F. and Pozzi, F. and Rosario, D. J. and Scott, D. and Viero, M. and Vignali, C. (2014) Black hole accretion preferentially occurs in gas-rich galaxies. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 441 (2). pp. 1059-1065. ISSN 0035-8711. doi:10.1093/mnras/stu637.

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We have investigated the gas content of a sample of several hundred AGN host galaxies at z < 1 and compared it with a sample of inactive galaxies, matched in bins of stellar mass and redshift. Gas masses have been inferred from the dust masses, obtained by stacked Herschel far-IR and sub-mm data in the GOODS and COSMOS fields, under reasonable assumptions and metallicity scaling relations for the dust-to-gas ratio. We find that AGNs are on average hosted in galaxies much more gas rich than inactive galaxies. In the vast majority of stellar mass bins, the average gas content of AGN hosts is higher than that in inactive galaxies. The difference is up to a factor of 10 higher in low-stellar-mass galaxies, with a significance of 6.5σ. In almost half of the AGN sample, the gas content is three times higher than that in the control sample of inactive galaxies. Our result strongly suggests that the probability of having an AGN activated is simply driven by the amount of gas in the host galaxy; this can be explained in simple terms of statistical probability of having a gas cloud falling into the gravitational potential of the black hole. The increased probability of an AGN being hosted by a star-forming galaxy, identified by previous works, may be a consequence of the relationship between gas content and AGN activity, found in this paper, combined with the Schmidt–Kennicutt law for star formation.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Brusa, M.0000-0002-5059-6848
Comastri, A.0000-0003-3451-9970
Farrah, D.0000-0003-1748-2010
Gruppioni, C.0000-0002-5836-4056
Lutz, D.0000-0003-0291-9582
Scott, D.0000-0002-6878-9840
Vignali, C.0000-0002-8853-9611
Additional Information:© 2014 The Authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. Accepted 2014 March 31; Received 2014 March 25; In original form 2014 January 23. Herschel is an ESA space observatory with science instruments provided by European-led Principal Investigator consortia and with important participation from NASA. We acknowledge support from the Italian Space Agency under the ASI-INAF contract I/009/10/0 and from INAF under the contract PRIN-INAF-2012. FV thanks B. Luo for kindly providing Chandra IDs of MUSIC counterparts in GOODS-S and I. Delvecchio for useful discussion on SED-fitting procedure. This paper uses data from Herschel’s photometers, PACS and SPIRE. PACS has been developed by a consortium of institutes led by MPE (Germany) and including UVIE (Austria); KU Leuven, CSL, IMEC (Belgium); CEA, LAM (France); MPIA (Germany); INAF-IFSI/OAA/OAP/OAT, LENS, SISSA (Italy); IAC (Spain). This development has been supported by the funding agencies BMVIT (Austria), ESA-PRODEX (Belgium), CEA/CNES (France), DLR (Germany), ASI/INAF (Italy) and CICYT/MCYT (Spain). SPIRE has been developed by a consortium of institutes led by Cardiff University (UK) and including Univ. Lethbridge (Canada); NAOC (China); CEA, LAM (France); IFSI, Univ. Padua (Italy); IAC (Spain); Stockholm Observatory (Sweden); Imperial College London, RAL, UCL-MSSL, UKATC, Univ. Sussex (UK); and Caltech, JPL, NHSC, Univ. Colorado (USA). This development has also been supported by national funding agencies: CSA (Canada); NAOC (China); CEA, CNES, CNRS (France); ASI (Italy);MCINN (Spain); SNSB (Sweden); STFC, UKSA (UK); and NASA (USA).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI)I/009/10/0
Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF)PRIN-INAF-2012
Canadian Space Agency (CSA)UNSPECIFIED
National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC)UNSPECIFIED
Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique (CEA)UNSPECIFIED
Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES)UNSPECIFIED
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)UNSPECIFIED
Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (MCINN)UNSPECIFIED
Swedish National Space Board (SNSB)UNSPECIFIED
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)UNSPECIFIED
United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA)UNSPECIFIED
Bundesministerium für Verkehr, Innovation und Technologie (BMVIT)UNSPECIFIED
Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)UNSPECIFIED
Comisión Interministerial de Ciencia y Tecnología (CICYT)UNSPECIFIED
Ministerio de Ciencia Y Tecnologia (MCYT)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:methods: data analysis; galaxies: active; galaxies: ISM
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20140627-090833691
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Vito, F., Maiolino, R., Santini, P., Brusa, M., Comastri, A., Cresci, G., . . . Vignali, C. (2014). Black hole accretion preferentially occurs in gas-rich galaxies. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 441(2), 1059-1065. doi: 10.1093/mnras/stu637
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:46548
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:27 Jun 2014 18:29
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 17:27

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