skip to main content

SciTech ConnectSciTech Connect

Title: The effects of the local environment on active galactic nuclei

There continues to be significant controversy regarding the mechanism(s) responsible for the initiation and maintenance of activity in galactic nuclei. In this paper we will investigate possible environmental triggers of nuclear activity through a statistical analysis of a large sample of galaxy groups. The focus of this paper is to identify active galactic nuclei (AGNs) and other emission-line galaxies in these groups and to compare their frequency with a sample of over 260,000 isolated galaxies from the same catalog. The galaxy groups are taken from the catalog of Yang et al., in which over 20,000 virialized groups of galaxies (2 ≤ N ≤ 20) with redshifts between 0.01 and 0.20 are from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. We first investigate the completeness of our data set and find, though biases are a concern particularly at higher redshift, that our data provide a fair representation of the local universe. After correcting emission-line equivalent widths for extinction and underlying Balmer stellar absorption, we classify galaxies in the sample using traditional emission-line ratios, while incorporating measurement uncertainties. We find a significantly higher fraction of AGNs in groups compared with the isolated sample. Likewise, a significantly higher fraction of absorption-line galaxies are found inmore » groups, while a higher fraction of star-forming galaxies prefer isolated environments. Within grouped environments, AGNs and star-forming galaxies are found more frequently in small- to medium-richness groups, while absorption-line galaxies prefer groups with larger richnesses. Groups containing only emission-line galaxies have smaller virial radii, velocity dispersions, and masses compared with those containing only absorption-line galaxies. Furthermore, the AGN fraction increases with decreasing distance to the group centroid, independent of galaxy morphology. Using properties obtained from Galaxy Zoo, there is an increased fraction of AGNs within merging systems, unlike star-forming galaxies. These results provide some indication that the local environment does play a role in initiating activity in galactic nuclei, but it is by no means simple or straightforward.« less
Authors:
;  [1]
  1. Department of Physics and Astronomy, York University, Toronto, ON M3J 1P3 (Canada)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22356592
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 788; 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; CATALOGS; DISPERSIONS; DISTANCE; EMISSION; GALAXIES; GALAXY NUCLEI; MAINTENANCE; MASS; RED SHIFT; STARS; UNIVERSE; VELOCITY