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Title: THE MOST MASSIVE ACTIVE BLACK HOLES AT z ∼ 1.5-3.5 HAVE HIGH SPINS AND RADIATIVE EFFICIENCIES

The radiative efficiencies (η) of 72 luminous unobscured active galactic nuclei at z ∼ 1.5-3.5, powered by some of the most massive black holes (BHs), are constrained. The analysis is based on accretion disk (AD) models, which link the continuum luminosity at rest-frame optical wavelengths and the BH mass (M {sub BH}) to the accretion rate through the AD, M-dot {sub AD}. The data are gathered from several literature samples with detailed measurements of the Hβ emission line complex, observed at near-infrared bands. When coupled with standard estimates of bolometric luminosities (L {sub bol}), the analysis suggests high radiative efficiencies, with most of the sources showing η > 0.2, that is, higher than the commonly assumed value of 0.1, and the expected value for non-spinning BHs (η = 0.057). Even under more conservative assumptions regarding L {sub bol} (i.e., L {sub bol} = 3 × L {sub 5100}), most of the extremely massive BHs in the sample (i.e., M {sub BH} ≳ 3 × 10{sup 9} M {sub ☉}) show radiative efficiencies which correspond to very high BH spins (a {sub *}), with typical values well above a {sub *} ≅ 0.7. These results stand in contrast to the predictionsmore » of a ''spin-down'' scenario, in which a series of randomly oriented accretion episodes leads to a {sub *} ∼ 0. Instead, the analysis presented here strongly supports a ''spin-up'' scenario, which is driven by either prolonged accretion or a series of anisotropically oriented accretion episodes. Considering the fact that these extreme BHs require long-duration or continuous accretion to account for their high masses, it is argued that the most probable scenario for the super-massive black holes under study is that of an almost continuous sequence of randomly yet not isotropically oriented accretion episodes.« less
Authors:
 [1]
  1. Department of Physics, Institute for Astronomy, ETH Zurich, Wolfgang-Pauli-Strasse 27, CH-8093 Zurich (Switzerland)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22365752
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal Letters; Journal Volume: 789; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; ACCRETION DISKS; BLACK HOLES; BOLOMETERS; EFFICIENCY; GALAXIES; GALAXY NUCLEI; LUMINOSITY; MASS; QUASARS; RANDOMNESS; SPIN