Cumulative hard X-ray spectrum of local AGN: a link to the cosmic X-ray background
Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 1, 85740 Garching bei München, Germany e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Space Research Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Profsoyuznaya 84/32, 117997 Moscow, Russia
Accepted: 15 February 2008
Aims. We determine the cumulative spectral energy distribution (SED) of local active galactic nuclei (AGN) in the 3-300 keV band and compare it with the spectrum of the cosmic X-ray background (CXB) in order to test the widely accepted paradigm that the CXB is a superposition of AGN and to place constraints on AGN evolution.
Methods. We performed a stacking analysis of the hard X-ray spectra of AGN detected in two recent all-sky surveys, performed by the IBIS/ISGRI instrument aboard INTEGRAL and by the PCA instrument aboard RXTE, taking into account the space densities of AGN with different luminosities and absorption column densities.
Results. We derived the collective SED of local AGN in the 3-300 keV energy band. Those AGN with luminosities below 1043.5 erg s-1 (17-60 keV) provide the main contribution to the local volume hard X-ray emissivity, at least 5 times more than more luminous objects. The cumulative spectrum exhibits (although with marginal significance) a cutoff at energies above ~100-200 keV and is consistent with the CXB spectrum if AGN evolve over cosmic time in such a way that the SED of their collective high-energy emission has a constant shape and the relative fraction of obscured AGN remains nearly constant, while the AGN luminosity density undergoes strong evolution between and , a scenario broadly consistent with results from recent deep X-ray surveys.
Conclusions. The first direct comparison between the collective hard X-ray SED of local AGN and the CXB spectrum demonstrates that the popular concept of the CXB being a superposition of AGN is generally correct. By repeating this test using improved AGN statistics from current and future hard X-ray surveys, it should be possible to tighten the constraints on the cosmic history of black hole growth.
Key words: surveys / galaxies: active / galaxies: evolution / galaxies: Seyfert / X-rays: diffuse background
© ESO, 2008