Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 478, 3890-3934 (2018/August-2)
The COS-AGN survey: revealing the nature of circumgalactic gas around hosts of active galactic nuclei.
BERG T.A.M., ELLISON S.L., TUMLINSON J., OPPENHEIMER B.D., HORTON R., BORDOLOI R. and SCHAYE J.
Abstract (from CDS):
Active galactic nuclei (AGN) are thought to play a critical role in shaping galaxies, but their effect on the circumgalactic medium (CGM) is not well studied. We present results from the COS-AGN survey: 19 quasar sightlines that probe the CGM of 20 optically selected AGN host galaxies with impact parameters 80<ρimp<300 kpc. Absorption lines from a variety of species are measured and compared to a stellar mass and impact parameter matched sample of sightlines through non-AGN galaxies. Amongst the observed species in the COS-AGN sample (Ly α, C II, Si II, Si III, C IV, Si IV, N V), only Ly α shows a high covering fraction (94+6–23per cent for rest-frame equivalent widths EW>=124 mÅ) while many of the metal ions are not detected in individual sightlines. A sightline-by-sightline comparison between COS-AGN and the control sample yields no significant difference in EW distribution. However, stacked spectra of the COS-AGN and control samples show significant (>3σ) enhancements in the EW of both Ly α and Si III at impact parameters >164 kpc by a factor of +0.45 ± 0.05 and >+0.75 dex, respectively. The lack of detections of both high-ionization species near the AGN and strong kinematic offsets between the absorption systemic galaxy redshifts indicate that neither the AGN's ionization nor its outflows are the origin of these differences. Instead, we suggest that the observed differences could result from either AGN hosts residing in haloes with intrinsically distinct gas properties, or that their CGM has been affected by a previous event, such as a starburst, which may also have fuelled the nuclear activity.
© 2018 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society
galaxies: active - galaxies: evolution - quasars: absorption lines - galaxies: Seyfert
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