Probing the coevolution of supermassive black holes and galaxies using gravitationally lensed quasar hosts

Chien Y. Peng, Chris D. Impey, Hans Walter Rix, Christopher S. Kochanek, Charles R. Keeton, Emilio E. Falco, Joseph Lehár, Brian A. McLeod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

326 Scopus citations


In the present-day universe, supermassive black hole masses (M BH) appear to be strongly correlated with their galaxy's bulge luminosity, among other properties. In this study we explore the analogous relationship between MBH, derived using the virial method, and the stellar (LR)-band bulge luminosity (LR) or stellar bulge mass (M*) at epochs of 1 ≲ z ≲ 4.5, using a sample of 31 gravitationally lensed AGNs and 20 nonlensed AGNs. At redshifts z > 1.7 (10-12 Gyr ago), we find that the observed MBH-LR relation is nearly the same (to within ∼0.3 mag) as it is today. When the observed LR are corrected for luminosity evolution, this means that the black holes grew in mass faster than their hosts, with the MBH/M* mass ratio being a factor of ≳4-1+2 times larger at z > 1.7 than it is today. By the redshift range 1 ≲ z ≲ 1.7 (8-10 Gyr ago), the MBH/M* ratio is at most 2 times higher than today, but it may be consistent with no evolution. Combining the results, we conclude that the ratio MBH/M* rises with look-back time, although it may saturate at ≈6 times the local value. Scenarios in which moderately luminous quasar hosts at z ≳ 1.7 were fully formed bulges that passively faded to the present epoch are ruled out.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)616-634
Number of pages19
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Oct 1 2006


  • Black hole physics
  • Galaxies: bulges
  • Galaxies: evolution
  • Galaxies: fundamental parameters
  • Galaxies: structure
  • Gravitational lensing
  • Quasars: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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