Molecular gas content in obscured AGN at z > 1
1 INAF – Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo Enrico Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy
2 Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Università di Bologna, via Gobetti 93/2, 40129 Bologna, Italy
3 Astronomy Centre, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9QH, UK
4 INAF Osservatorio di Astrofisica e Scienza dello Spazio di Bologna, via Gobetti 93/3, 40129 Bologna, Italy
5 CEA, IRFU, DAp, AIM, Université Paris-Saclay, Université Paris Diderot, Sorbonne Paris Cité, CNRS, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, France
6 INAF Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste, Via G.B. Tiepolo 11, 34143 Trieste, Italy
7 Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy, Department of Physics, Durham University, South Road, Durham, DH1 3LE, UK
8 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, via Frascati 33, 00078 Monte Porzio Catone, Rome, Italy
Accepted: 7 July 2018
Aims. The standard active galactic nuclei (AGN)-galaxy co-evolutionary scenario predicts a phase of deeply “buried” supermassive black hole growth coexisting with a starburst (SB) before feedback phenomena deplete the cold molecular gas reservoir of the galaxy and an optically luminous quasar (QSO) is revealed (called the SB-QSO evolutionary sequence). The aim of this work is to measure the cold gas reservoir of three highly obscured QSOs to test if their gas fraction is similar to that of submillimetre galaxies (SMGs), as expected by some models, and to place these measurements in the context of the SB-QSO framework.
Methods. We target CO(1-0) transition in BzK4892, a Compton thick (CT) QSO at z = 2.6, CO(1-0) in BzK8608 and CO(2-1) in CDF153, two highly obscured (NH ≈ 6 × 1023 cm−2) QSOs at z = 2.5 and z = 1.5, respectively. For these targets, we place 3σ upper limits on the CO lines, with L′CO < (1.5 ÷ 2.8)×1010 K km s−1 pc2. We also compare the molecular gas conditions of our targets with those of other systems at z > 1, considering normal star-forming galaxies and SMGs, and unobscured and obscured AGN from the literature. For the AGN samples, we provide an updated and almost complete collection of targets with CO follow-up at z > 1.
Results. BzK4892 displays a high star formation efficiency (SFE = LIR/L′CO > 410 L⊙/(K km s−1 pc2 )) and a gas fraction fgas = Mgas/(Mstar + Mgas)< 10%. Less stringent constraints are derived for the other two targets (fgas < 0.5 and SFE > 10 L⊙/(K km s−1 pc2 )). From the comparison with the literature data we found that, on average, i) obscured AGN at z > 1 are associated with higher SFE and lower fgas with respect to normal star-forming galaxies and SMGs; ii) mildly and highly obscured active galaxies have comparable gas fractions; iii) the SFE of CT and obscured AGN are similar to those of unobscured AGN.
Conclusions. Within the SB-QSO framework, these findings could be consistent with a scenario where feedback can impact the host galaxy already from the early phases of the SB-QSO evolutionary sequence.
Key words: galaxies: active / quasars: emission lines / galaxies: evolution / galaxies: ISM
© ESO 2018