A New Infrared Criterion for Selecting Active Galactic Nuclei to Lower Luminosities

Raphael E. Hviding, Kevin N. Hainline, Marcia Rieke, Stéphanie Juneau, Jianwei Lyu, Ragadeepika Pucha

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1 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present a spectroscopic and photometric analysis of a sample of 416,288 galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) matched to mid-infrared (mid-IR) data from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). By using a new spectroscopic fitting package, GELATO (Galaxy/AGN Emission Line Analysis TOol), we are able to retrieve emission line fluxes and uncertainties for SDSS spectra and robustly determine the presence of broad lines and outflowing components, enabling us to investigate WISE color space as a function of optical spectroscopic properties. In addition, we pursue spectral energy distribution template fitting to assess the relative active galactic nucleus (AGN) contribution and nuclear obscuration to compare to existing mid-IR selection criteria with WISE. We present a selection criterion in mid-IR color space to select AGNs with an ∼80% accuracy and a completeness of ∼16%. This is the first mid-IR color selection defined by solely using the distribution of Type I and Type II optical spectroscopic AGNs in WISE mid-IR color space. Our selection is an improvement of ∼50% in the completeness of targeting spectroscopic AGNs with WISE down to an SDSS r < 17.77 mag. In addition, our new criterion targets a less-luminous population of AGNs, with on average lower [O iii] luminosities by ∼30% ( > 0.1 dex) compared to typical WISE color-color selections. With upcoming large photometric surveys without corresponding spectroscopy, our method presents a way to select larger populations of AGNs at lower AGN luminosities and higher nuclear obscuration levels than traditional mid-IR color selections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number224
JournalAstronomical Journal
Volume163
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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