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2003A&A...402...87H - Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 402, 87-111 (2003/4-4)

The ISO view of Palomar-Green quasars.


Abstract (from CDS):

Mining the ISO data archive we provide the complete ISO view of PG quasars containing 64 infrared spectral energy distributions between 5 and 200µm. About half of the sample was supplemented by MAMBO and SCUBA (sub-)millimetre data. Since the PG quasars were selected optically, the high infrared detection rate of more than 80% suggests that every quasar possesses luminous to hyperluminous dust emission with dust masses comparable to Seyferts and ultraluminous IR galaxies (ULIRGs). The gas-to-dust mass ratio (of those sources where CO measurements are available in the literature) is consistent with the galactic value providing further evidence for the thermal nature of the IR emission of radio quiet quasars. The SEDs represent templates of unprecedented detail and sensitivity. The power-law like near- to mid-IR SEDs (Fν∝να) are smooth up to far-infrared wavelengths, favouring dust heating by the central AGN, and we conclude that, in particular for our hyperluminous quasars at z=1, starbursts play only a minor role for powering the dust emission, even in the FIR. The IR spectral slopes α1–10µm range from -0.9 to -2.2 with a mean of -1.3±0.3. They neither correlate with the optical spectral slope α0.3–1µm, nor with the IR luminosity, nor with the FIR/MIR luminosity ratio, nor with inclination-dependent extinction effects in the picture of a dusty torus. We suggest that the diversity of the SEDs reflects largely the evolution of the dust distribution, and we propose a classification of the SED shapes as well as an evolutionary scheme in which this variety can be understood. During the evolution the surrounding dust redistributes, settling more and more into a torus/disk like configuration, while the SEDs show an initial FIR bump, then an increasing MIR emission and a steeper near- to mid-infrared slope, both of which finally also decrease. Strikingly, based on the sensitive ISO data now we do not only see the coarse IR differences between ULIRGs and quasars, but also the details and a possible evolution of the dust distribution and emission even among the optically selected PG sample. Regarding cosmic evolution, our hyperluminous quasars in the ``local'' universe at z=1 do not show the hyperluminous (LFIR>1013L) starburst activity inferred for z=4 quasars detected in several (sub-)millimetre surveys. In view of several caveats this difference should be established further, but it already suggests that in the early dense universe stronger merger events led to more powerful starbursts accompanying the quasar phenomenon, while at later cosmic epochs any coeval starbursts obviously do not reach that high power and are outshone by the AGN.

Abstract Copyright:

Journal keyword(s): galaxies: fundamental parameters - galaxies: photometry - galaxies: quasars: general - infrared: galaxies

Simbad objects: 70

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