Distribution of quasar hosts on the galaxy main sequence plane

Zhoujian Zhang, Yong Shi, George H. Rieke, Xiaoyang Xia, Yikang Wang, Bingqing Sun, Linfeng Wan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


The relation between star formation rates (SFRs) and stellar masses, i.e., the galaxy main sequence, is a useful diagnostic of galaxy evolution. We present the distributions relative to the main sequence of 55 optically selected PG and 12 near-IR-selected Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) quasars at z ≤ 0.5. We estimate the quasar host stellar masses from Hubble Space Telescope or ground-based AO photometry, and the SFRs through the mid-infrared aromatic features and far-IR photometry. We find that PG quasar hosts more or less follow the main sequence defined by normal star-forming galaxies while 2MASS quasar hosts lie systematically above the main sequence. PG and 2MASS quasars with higher nuclear luminosities seem to have higher specific SFRs (sSFRs), although there is a large scatter. No trends are seen between sSFRs and SMBH masses, Eddington ratios, or even morphology types (ellipticals, spirals, and mergers). Our results could be placed in an evolutionary scenario with quasars emerging during the transition from ULIRGs/mergers to ellipticals. However, combined with results at higher redshift, they suggest that quasars can be widely triggered in normal galaxies as long as they contain abundant gas and have ongoing star formation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberL27
JournalAstrophysical Journal Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 10 2016


  • galaxies: active
  • galaxies: starburst
  • infrared: galaxies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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