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Imaging Spectroscopy of Ionized Gaseous Nebulae around Optically Faint AGNs at Redshift z ∼ 2

Law, David R. and Steidel, Charles C. and Chen, Yuguang and Strom, Allison L. and Rudie, Gwen C. and Trainor, Ryan F. (2018) Imaging Spectroscopy of Ionized Gaseous Nebulae around Optically Faint AGNs at Redshift z ∼ 2. Astrophysical Journal, 866 (2). Art. No. 119. ISSN 1538-4357.

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We present Keck/OSIRIS laser guide-star assisted adaptive optics (LGSAO) integral-field spectroscopy of [O III] λ5007 nebular emission from 12 galaxies hosting optically faint (R = 20–25; ν L_ν ~ 10^(44) – 10^(46) erg s^(−1)) active galactic nuclei (AGNs) at redshift z ~ 2–3. In combination with deep Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Camera 3 (HST/WFC3) rest-frame optical imaging, Keck/MOSFIRE rest-optical spectroscopy, and Keck/KCWI rest-UV integral-field spectroscopy, we demonstrate that both the continuum and emission-line structures of these sources exhibit a wide range of morphologies, from compact, isolated point sources to double-AGN merging systems with extensive ~50 kpc tidal tails. One of the 12 galaxies previously known to exhibit a proximate damped Lyα system coincident in redshift with the galaxy shows evidence for both an extended [O III] narrow-line emission region and spatially offset Lyα emission (with morphologically distinct blueshifted and redshifted components) indicative of large-scale gas flows photoionized by the central AGN. We do not find widespread evidence of star formation in the host galaxies surrounding these AGNs; the [O III] velocity dispersions tend to be high (σ = 100–500 km s^(-1)), the continuum morphologies are much more compact than a mass-matched star-forming comparison sample, and the diagnostic nebular emission-line ratios are dominated by an AGN-like ionizing spectrum. The sample is most consistent with a population of AGNs that radiate at approximately their Eddington limit and photoionize extended [O III] nebulae whose characteristic sizes scale approximately as the square root of the AGN luminosity.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Law, David R.0000-0002-9402-186X
Steidel, Charles C.0000-0002-4834-7260
Chen, Yuguang0000-0003-4520-5395
Strom, Allison L.0000-0001-6369-1636
Rudie, Gwen C.0000-0002-8459-5413
Trainor, Ryan F.0000-0002-6967-7322
Additional Information:© 2018 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2018 July 26; revised 2018 September 7; accepted 2018 September 11; published 2018 October 19. The authors thank Alice Shapley, Dawn Erb, Naveen Reddy, and Max Pettini for their participation in early KBSS observations, particularly the near-IR and Spitzer mid-IR photometry and the Keck/LRIS spectroscopic campaign. D.R.L. also thanks Alice Shapley for assistance with early OSIRIS observations and Jay Anderson for assistance with PSF subtraction of the Q2343-BX415 HST imaging and appreciates productive conversations with Tim Heckman, Nadia Zakamska, and the STScI AGN Reading Group. This work includes observations taken by the CANDELS Multi-Cycle Treasury Program and the 3D-HST Treasury Program (GO 12177 and 12328) with the NASA/ESA HST, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555. Finally, we wish to extend thanks to those of Hawaiian ancestry on whose sacred mountain we are privileged to be guests.
Group:Astronomy Department
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NASAGO 12177
NASAGO 12328
Subject Keywords:galaxies: active – galaxies: fundamental parameters – galaxies: high-redshift – galaxies: structure
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20181023-082855040
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:David R. Law et al 2018 ApJ 866 119
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:90344
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:23 Oct 2018 21:43
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 20:24

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