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The first supermassive black holes: indications from models for future observations

Amarantidis, Stergios and Afonso, José and Messias, Hugo and Henriques, Bruno and Griffin, Andrew and Lacey, Cedric and del P. Lagos, Claudia and Gonzalez-Perez, Violeta and Dubois, Yohan and Volonteri, Marta and Matute, Israel and Pappalardo, Ciro and Qin, Yuxiang and Chary, Ranga-Ram and Norris, Ray P. (2019) The first supermassive black holes: indications from models for future observations. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 485 (2). pp. 2694-2709. ISSN 0035-8711. doi:10.1093/mnras/stz551.

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We present an exploration of the expected detection of the earliest active galactic nuclei (AGNs) in the Universe from state-of-art galaxy formation and evolution semi-analytic models and hydrodynamical simulations. We estimate the number and radiative characteristics of supermassive black holes (SMBHs) at z ≥ 6, a redshift range that will be intensively explored by the next generation of telescopes, in particular in the radio through the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) and at high energies with ESA’s Athena X-ray Observatory. We find that Athena will be able to observe over 5000 AGN deg^(−2) at the Epoch of Re-ionization (EoR), 6 ≤ z ≤ 10. Similarly, for the same redshift range the models/simulations suggest that SKA will detect at least 400 AGN deg^(−2). Additionally, we stress the importance of the volume of the simulation box as well as the initial physical conditions of the models/simulations on their effect on the luminosity functions (LFs) and the creation of the most massive SMBHs that we currently observe at the EoR. Furthermore, following the evolution of the accretion mode of the SMBHs in each model/simulation, we show that, while the quasar dominates over the radio mode at the EoR, detection at radio wavelengths still reaches significant numbers even at the highest redshifts. Finally, we present the effect that the radiative efficiency has on the LFs by comparing results produced with a constant value for the radiative efficiency and more complex calculations based on the spin of each SMBH.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Amarantidis, Stergios0000-0001-7948-5714
Afonso, José0000-0002-9149-2973
Messias, Hugo0000-0002-2985-7994
Henriques, Bruno0000-0002-1392-489X
Griffin, Andrew0000-0001-8006-0756
Lacey, Cedric0000-0001-9016-5332
del P. Lagos, Claudia0000-0003-3021-8564
Gonzalez-Perez, Violeta0000-0001-9938-2755
Volonteri, Marta0000-0002-3216-1322
Matute, Israel0000-0003-1177-3896
Pappalardo, Ciro0000-0003-2606-6019
Qin, Yuxiang0000-0002-4314-1810
Chary, Ranga-Ram0000-0001-7583-0621
Norris, Ray P.0000-0002-4597-1906
Additional Information:© 2019 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. This article is published and distributed under the terms of the Oxford University Press, Standard Journals Publication Model ( Accepted 2019 February 15. Received 2019 February 14; in original form 2018 November 22. Published: 26 February 2019. SA, JA, IM, and CP gratefully acknowledge support from the Science and Technology Foundation (FCT, Portugal) through the research grants UID/FIS/04434/2019, PTDC/FIS-AST/29245/2017, SFRH/BPD/95578/2013, and SFRH/BPD/90559/2012. HM thanks the opportunity given by the ALMA Partnership to work at the Joint ALMA Observatory via its Fellowship programme. HM acknowledges support by FCT via the post-doctoral fellowship SFRH/BPD/97986/2013. CDPL is funded by an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DE150100618) and by the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for All Sky Astrophysics in 3 Dimensions (ASTRO 3D), through project number CE170100013. The GALFORM runs used the DiRAC Data Centric system at Durham University, operated by the Institute for Computational Cosmology on behalf of the STFC DiRAC HPC Facility ( This equipment was funded by BIS National E-infrastructure capital grant ST/K00042X/1, STFC capital grants ST/H008519/1 and ST/K00087X/1, STFC DiRAC Operations grant ST/K003267/1, and Durham University. The work done using GALFORM was supported by the Science and Technology facilities Council ST/L00075X/1. AJG acknowledges an STFC studentship funded by STFC grant ST/N50404X/1. We acknowledge the support from the teams developing the models presented in this paper, for making their data available. We acknowledge the Virgo Consortium for making their simulation data available. The EAGLE simulations were performed using the DiRAC-2 facility at Durham, managed by the ICC, and the PRACE facility Curie based in France at TGCC, CEA, Bruyères-le-Châtel. The Millennium Simulation databases used in this paper and the web application providing online access to them were constructed as part of the activities of the German Astrophysical Virtual Observatory (GAVO).
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT)UID/FIS/04434/2019
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT)PTDC/FIS-AST/29245/2017
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT)SFRH/BPD/95578/2013
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT)SFRH/BPD/90559/2012
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT)SFRH/BPD/97986/2013
Australian Research CouncilDE150100618
Australian Research CouncilCE170100013
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)ST/K00042X/1
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)ST/H008519/1
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)ST/K00087X/1
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)ST/K003267/1
Durham UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)ST/L00075X/1
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)ST/N50404X/1
Subject Keywords:galaxies: high-redshift – quasars: general – radio continuum: galaxies –X-rays: galaxies
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190801-111823214
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Stergios Amarantidis, José Afonso, Hugo Messias, Bruno Henriques, Andrew Griffin, Cedric Lacey, Claudia delP Lagos, Violeta Gonzalez-Perez, Yohan Dubois, Marta Volonteri, Israel Matute, Ciro Pappalardo, Yuxiang Qin, Ranga-Ram Chary, Ray P Norris, The first supermassive black holes: indications from models for future observations, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 485, Issue 2, May 2019, Pages 2694–2709,
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:97585
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:01 Aug 2019 18:26
Last Modified:16 Nov 2021 17:32

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