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Title: The mid-infrared emission of narrow-line active galactic nuclei: Star formation, nuclear activity, and two populations revealed by WISE

We explore the nature of the long-wavelength mid-infrared (MIR) emission of a sample of 13,000 local Type II (narrow-line) active galactic nuclei (AGNs) from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) using 12 μm and 22 μm photometry from the WISE all-sky survey. In combination with FIRST 1.4 GHz photometry, we show that AGNs divide into two relatively distinct populations or 'branches' in the plane of MIR and radio luminosity. Seyfert galaxies lie almost exclusively on an MIR-bright branch (Branch A), while low-ionization nuclear emission line galaxies (LINERs) are split evenly into Branch A and the MIR-faint Branch B. We devise various tests to constrain the processes that define the branches, including a comparison to the properties of pure star-forming inactive galaxies on the MIR-radio plane. We demonstrate that the total MIR emission of objects on Branch A, including most Seyfert galaxies, is governed primarily by host star formation, with ≈15% of the 22 μm luminosity coming from AGN-heated dust. This implies that ongoing dusty star formation is a general property of Seyfert host galaxies. We show that the 12 μm broadband luminosity of AGNs on Branch A is suppressed with respect to star-forming galaxies, possibly due to the destruction ofmore » PAHs or deeper 10 μm Si absorption in AGNs. We uncover a correlation between the MIR luminosity and [O III] λ5007 luminosity in AGNs. This suggests a relationship between the star formation rate and nuclear luminosity in the AGN population, but we caution on the importance of selection effects inherent to such AGN-dominated emission-line galaxies in driving such a correlation. We highlight the MIR-radio plane as a useful tool in comparative studies of star formation and nuclear activity in AGNs.« less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ;  [1]
  1. Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Postfach 1312, 85741 Garching (Germany)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22341967
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 778; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ABSORPTION; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; CORRELATIONS; DUSTS; EMISSION; GALAXY NUCLEI; GHZ RANGE; INTERMEDIATE INFRARED RADIATION; LUMINOSITY; PHOTOMETRY; POLYCYCLIC AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS; SEYFERT GALAXIES; SKY; STARS; WAVELENGTHS