EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 383, Number 3, March I 2002
Page(s) 838 - 853
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20011842
Published online 15 March 2002

A&A 383, 838-853 (2002)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20011842

The AGN contribution to mid-infrared surveys

X-ray counterparts of the mid-IR sources in the Lockman Hole and HDF-N
D. Fadda1, 2, H. Flores2, 3, G. Hasinger4, A. Franceschini5, B. Altieri6, C. J. Cesarsky7, D. Elbaz2 and Ph. Ferrando2

1  Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), Via Lactea S/N, 38205 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
2  CEA Saclay - Service d'Astrophysique, Orme des Merisiers, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France
3  Observatoire de Paris Meudon, DAEC, 92195 Meudon Principal Cedex, France
4  AIP, An der Sternwarte 16, 14482 Potsdam, Germany
5  Dipartimento di Astronomia, Università di Padova, Vicolo dell'Osservatorio 5, 35122 Padova, Italy
6  XMM-Newton Operations Centre, ESA Vilspa, Apartado 50727, 28080 Madrid, Spain
7  ESO, Karl-Schwarzschild Straße 2, 85748 Garching bei München, Germany

(Received 12 June 2001 / Accepted 20 December 2001)

We provide constraints on the AGN contribution to the mid-IR extragalactic background light from a correlation analysis of deep X-ray and mid-IR observations in two regions centred on the Lockman Hole and Hubble Deep Field North (HDF-N). The Lockman region, of more than 200 square arcminutes, was observed by ISOCAM and XMM-Newton to a depth of 0.3 mJy at 15  $\mu$m (resolving more than 30% of the mid-IR background). In the same area XMM-Newton reached flux limits of $1.4 \times 10^{-15}$ erg cm -2 s -1 in the 2-10 keV energy band and $2.4 \times 10^{-15}$ erg cm -2 s -1 in the 5-10 keV energy band, resolving about 80% of the 2-10 keV and 60% of the 5-10 keV backgrounds (the deepest observation in this hard band to date). Among the 76 galaxies detected by XMM-Newton, 24 show mid-IR emission, but the relative percentage of X-ray sources with mid-IR counterparts increases with the band energy: from 30% of the 0.5-2 keV sources up to 63% of the 5-10 keV sources. In contrast, only a small fraction of the mid-IR sources (around 10%) show X-ray emission within the sensitivity limits of XMM-Newton observations. The region centred on the HDF-N has been observed by ISOCAM (24 square arcminutes) to a depth of 0.05 mJy (more than 60% of the mid-IR background is resolved at this limit) and covered with a 1 Msec exposure by Chandra. In this case, 25% of the mid-IR sources are detected in the X-ray, while 30-40% of the X-ray sources show mid-IR emission. Under the assumption that all XMM sources except stars or galaxy clusters are AGN-dominated, AGNs contribute $(15\pm5)\%$ of the total mid-IR flux in the Lockman Hole. For the HDF-N we have assumed that AGN-dominated sources are luminous X-ray sources and sources with SEDs from radio to X-ray wavelengths typical of local AGNs, in which case we find that $(18\pm7)\%$ of the mid-IR flux are due to AGN emission. If we put together all the existing information from the deepest HDF-N data to the bright large-area sample in the ELAIS S1 region observed with BeppoSAX (for a total of 50 X-ray-mid-IR matched sources) using the median mid-IR to X-ray spectral indices as a function of the X-ray flux, we find an AGN contribution to the 15  $\mu$m background of $(17\pm 2)\%$. Since the IR spectra of typical AGNs peak around 20  $\mu$m while starburst spectra peak at significantly longer infrared wavelengths, this figure may be considered as an upper limit to the AGN contribution to the CIRB energy density. We conclude that the population of IR luminous galaxies detected in the ISOCAM deep surveys, and the CIRB sources themselves, are mainly constituted by dust-obscured starbursts.

Key words: cosmology: observations -- infrared: galaxies -- X-ray: galaxies: quasars: general

Offprint request: D. Fadda, fadda@ll.iac.es

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© ESO 2002

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