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Published April 2011 | Published
Journal Article Open

The Black Hole Masses and Star Formation Rates of z > 1 Dust Obscured Galaxies: Results from Keck OSIRIS Integral Field Spectroscopy


We have obtained high spatial resolution Keck OSIRIS integral field spectroscopy of four z ~ 1.5 ultra-luminous infrared galaxies that exhibit broad Hα emission lines indicative of strong active galactic nucleus (AGN) activity. The observations were made with the Keck laser guide star adaptive optics system giving a spatial resolution of 0."1 or < 1 kpc at these redshifts. These high spatial resolution observations help to spatially separate the extended narrow-line regions—possibly powered by star formation—from the nuclear regions, which may be powered by both star formation and AGN activity. There is no evidence for extended, rotating gas disks in these four galaxies. Assuming dust correction factors as high as A(Hα) = 4.8 mag, the observations suggest lower limits on the black hole masses of (1-9) × 10^8 M_⊙ and star formation rates < 100 M_⊙ yr^(–1). The black hole masses and star formation rates of the sample galaxies appear low in comparison to other high-z galaxies with similar host luminosities. We explore possible explanations for these observations, including host galaxy fading, black hole growth, and the shut down of star formation.

Additional Information

© 2011 American Astronomical Society. Received 2010 August 4; accepted 2011 February 13; published 2011 March 11. The adaptive optics data used in this study were obtained at the Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among Caltech, UC, and NASA. The authors recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that the summit of Mauna Kea has always had within the indigenous Hawaiian community. The laser guide star adaptive optics system was funded by the W. M. Keck Foundation. Special thanks go to the Keck support astronomer staff, especially Jim Lyke who worked on the OSIRIS calibration during the warm phase, when most of these data were obtained. Also, special thanks is owed to Shelley Wright for providing significant guidance on the data reduction.

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