Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 464, 3882-3906 (2017/February-1)
Incidence of WISE-selected obscured AGNs in major mergers and interactions from the SDSS.
WESTON M.E., McINTOSH D.H., BRODWIN M., MANN J., COOPER A., McCONNELL A. and NIELSEN J.L.
Abstract (from CDS):
We use the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) to confirm a connection between dust-obscured active galactic nuclei (AGNs) and galaxy merging. Using a new, volume-limited (z <= 0.08) catalogue of visually selected major mergers and galaxy-galaxy interactions from the SDSS, with stellar masses above 2 x 1010 M☉, we find that major mergers (interactions) are 5-17 (3-5) times more likely to have red [3.4] - [4.6] colours associated with dust-obscured or 'dusty' AGNs, compared to non-merging galaxies with similar masses. Using published fibre spectral diagnostics, we map the [3.4] - [4.6] versus [4.6] -  colours of different emission-line galaxies and find that one-quarter of Seyferts have colours indicative of a dusty AGN. We find that AGNs are five times more likely to be obscured when hosted by a merging galaxy, half of AGNs hosted by a merger are dusty, and we find no enhanced frequency of optical AGNs in merging over non-merging galaxies. We conclude that undetected AGNs missed at shorter wavelengths are at the heart of the ongoing AGN-merger connection debate. The vast majority of mergers hosting dusty AGNs are star forming and located at the centres of Mhalo < 1013 M☉ groups. Assuming plausibly short-duration dusty-AGN phases, we speculate that a large fraction of gas-rich mergers experience a brief obscured AGN phase, in agreement with the strong connection between central star formation and black hole growth seen in merger simulations.
© 2016 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society
galaxies: active - galaxies: evolution - galaxies: interactions - infrared: galaxies - infrared: galaxies
VizieR on-line data:
<Available at CDS (J/MNRAS/464/3882): table2.dat table3.dat>
Table 2: [GMM2009b] NYU-VAGC NNNNNNN N=1095 added among (Nos 712-1116117).
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