Black hole accretion and host galaxies of obscured quasars in XMM-COSMOS

V. Mainieri, A. Bongiorno, A. Merloni, M. Aller, M. Carollo, K. Iwasawa, A. M. Koekemoer, M. Mignoli, J. D. Silverman, M. Bolzonella, M. Brusa, A. Comastri, R. Gilli, C. Halliday, O. Ilbert, E. Lusso, M. Salvato, C. Vignali, G. Zamorani, T. ContiniJ. P. Kneib, O. Le Fèvre, S. Lilly, A. Renzini, M. Scodeggio, I. Balestra, S. Bardelli, K. Caputi, G. Coppa, O. Cucciati, S. De La Torre, L. De Ravel, P. Franzetti, B. Garilli, A. Iovino, P. Kampczyk, C. Knobel, K. Kovač, F. Lamareille, J. F. Le Borgne, V. Le Brun, C. Maier, P. Nair, R. Pello, Y. Peng, E. Perez Montero, L. Pozzetti, E. Ricciardelli, M. Tanaka, L. Tasca, L. Tresse, D. Vergani, E. Zucca, H. Aussel, P. Capak, N. Cappelluti, M. Elvis, F. Fiore, G. Hasinger, C. Impey, E. Le Floc'H, N. Scoville, Y. Taniguchi, J. Trump

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78 Scopus citations


Aims. We explore the connection between black hole growth at the center of obscured quasars selected from the XMM-COSMOS survey and the physical properties of their host galaxies. We study a bolometric regime ( Lbol) = 8 × 1045 erg s-1) where several theoretical models invoke major galaxy mergers as the main fueling channel for black hole accretion. Methods. To derive robust estimates of the host galaxy properties, we use an SED fitting technique to distinguish the AGN and host galaxy emission. We evaluate the effect on galaxy properties estimates of being unable to remove the nuclear emission from the SED. The superb multi-wavelength coverage of the COSMOS field allows us to obtain reliable estimates of the total stellar masses and star formation rates (SFRs) of the hosts. We supplement this information with a morphological analysis of the ACS/HST images, optical spectroscopy, and an X-ray spectral analysis. Results. We confirm that obscured quasars mainly reside in massive galaxies (M* > 1010M ) and that the fraction of galaxies hosting such powerful quasars monotonically increases with the stellar mass. We stress the limitation of the use of rest-frame color-magnitude diagrams as a diagnostic tool for studying galaxy evolution and inferring the influence that AGN activity can have on such a process. We instead use the correlation between SFR and stellar mass found for star-forming galaxies to discuss the physical properties of the hosts. We find that at z ∼ 1, ≈ 62% of Type-2 QSOs hosts are actively forming stars and that their rates are comparable to those measured for normal star-forming galaxies. The fraction of star-forming hosts increases with redshift: ≈ 71% at z ∼ 2, and 100% at z ∼ 3. We also find that the evolution from z ∼ 1 to z ∼ 3 of the specific SFR of the Type-2 QSO hosts is in excellent agreement with that measured for star-forming galaxies. From the morphological analysis, we conclude that most of the objects are bulge-dominated galaxies, and that only a few of them exhibit signs of recent mergers or disks. Finally, bulge-dominated galaxies tend to host Type-2 QSOs with low Eddington ratios (λ < 0.1), while disk-dominated or merging galaxies have at their centers BHs accreting at high Eddington ratios (λ > 0.1).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA80
JournalAstronomy and astrophysics
StatePublished - 2011


  • X-rays: general
  • galaxies: active
  • galaxies: nuclei
  • galaxies: star formation
  • quasars: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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  • Type-2 QSOs in XMM-COSMOS

    Mainieri, V. (Creator), Bongiorno, A. (Creator), Merloni, A. (Creator), Aller, M. (Creator), Carollo, M. (Creator), Iwasawa, K. (Creator), Koekemoer, A. M. (Creator), Mignoli, M. (Creator), Silverman, J. D. (Creator), Bolzonella, M. (Creator), Brusa, M. (Creator), Comastri, A. (Creator), Gilli, R. (Creator), Halliday, C. (Creator), Ilbert, O. (Creator), Lusso, E. (Creator), Salvato, M. (Creator), Vignali, C. (Creator), Zamorani, G. (Creator), Contini, T. (Creator), Kneib, J. (Creator), Le Fèvre, F. O. (Contributor), Lilly, S. (Creator), Renzini, A. (Creator), Scodeggio, M. (Creator), Balestra, I. (Creator), Bardelli, S. (Creator), Caputi, K. (Creator), Coppa, G. (Creator), Cucciati, O. (Creator), De La Torre, L. T. S. (Creator), De Ravel, R. L. (Creator), Franzetti, P. (Creator), Garilli, B. (Creator), Iovino, A. (Creator), Kampczyk, P. (Creator), Knobel, C. (Creator), Kovač, K. (Contributor), Lamareille, F. (Creator), Le Borgne, B. J. (Creator), Le Brun, B. V. (Creator), Maier, C. (Creator), Nair, P. (Creator), Pello, R. (Creator), Peng, Y. (Creator), Perez Montero, M. E. (Creator), Pozzetti, L. (Creator), Ricciardelli, E. (Creator), Tanaka, M. (Creator), Tasca, L. (Creator), Tresse, L. (Creator), Vergani, D. (Creator), Zucca, E. (Creator), Aussel, H. (Creator), Capak, P. (Creator), Cappelluti, N. (Creator), Elvis, M. (Creator), Fiore, F. (Creator), Hasinger, G. (Creator), Impey, C. D. (Creator), Le Floc'H, F. E. (Contributor), Scoville, N. (Creator), Taniguchi, Y. (Creator), Trump, J. (Creator), Silverman, J. D. (Creator), Bolzonella, M. (Creator), Gilli, R. (Creator), Vignali, C. (Creator), Scodeggio, M. (Creator), Bardelli, S. (Creator), Iovino, A. (Creator), Tanaka, M. (Creator), Tresse, L. (Creator) & Capak, P. (Creator), Centre de Donnees Strasbourg (CDS), 2012


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