Volume 609, January 2018
|Number of page(s)
|22 December 2017
Local Swift-BAT active galactic nuclei prefer circumnuclear star formation⋆
1 Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Giessenbachstraße, 85748 Garching, Germany
2 Department of Astronomy, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
Received: 23 June 2017
Accepted: 1 September 2017
We use Herschel data to analyze the size of the far-infrared 70 μm emission for z < 0.06 local samples of 277 hosts of Swift-BAT selected active galactic nuclei (AGN), and 515 comparison galaxies that are not detected by BAT. For modest far-infrared luminosities 8.5 <log (LFIR [L⊙]) < 10.5, we find large scatter of half light radii Re,70 for both populations, but a typical Re,70≲ 1 kpc for the BAT hosts that is only half that of comparison galaxies of same far-infrared luminosity. The result mostly reflects a more compact distribution of star formation (and hence gas) in the AGN hosts, but compact AGN heated dust may contribute in some extremely AGN dominated systems. Our findings are in support of an AGN-host coevolution where accretion onto the central black hole and star formation are fed from the same gas reservoir, with more efficient black hole feeding if that reservoir is more concentrated. The significant scatter in the far-infrared sizes emphasizes that we are mostly probing spatial scales much larger than those of actual accretion, and that rapid accretion variations can smear the distinction between the AGN and comparison categories. Large samples are hence needed to detect structural differences that favor feeding of the black hole. No size difference between AGN host and comparison galaxies is observed at higher far-infrared luminosities log(LFIR [L⊙]) > 10.5 (star formation rates ≳6 M⊙ yr-1), possibly because these are typically reached in more compact regions.
Key words: galaxies: active / galaxies: structure
Full Table A.1 is only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (126.96.36.199) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/609/A9
© ESO, 2017
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