The Relation between Luminous AGNs and Star Formation in Their Host Galaxies

Lei Xu, G. H. Rieke, E. Egami, C. P. Haines, M. J. Pereira, G. P. Smith

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We study the relation of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) to star formation in their host galaxies. Our sample includes 205 Type-1 and 85 Type-2 AGNs, 162 detected with Herschel, from fields surrounding 30 galaxy clusters in the Local Cluster Substructure Survey (LoCuSS). The sample is identified by optical line widths and ratios after selection to be brighter than 1 mJy at 24 microns. We show that Type-2 AGN [OIII]5007 line fluxes at high z can be contaminated by their host galaxies with typical spectrograph entrance apertures (but our sample is not compromised in this way). We use spectral energy distribution (SED) templates to decompose the galaxy SEDs and estimate star formation rates, AGN luminosities, and host galaxy stellar masses (described in an accompanying paper). The AGNs arise from massive black holes (~ 3 X 10^8 Msun) accreting at ~ 10% of the Eddington rate and residing in galaxies with stellar mass > 3 X 10^{10} Msun; those detected with Herschel have IR luminosity from star formation in the range of 10^{10} -- 10^{12} Lsun. We find that: 1.) the specific star formation rates in the host galaxies are generally consistent with those of normal star-forming (main sequence) galaxies; 2.) there is a strong correlation between the luminosities from star formation and the AGN; and 3.) however, the correlation may not result from a causal connection, but could arise because the black hole mass (and hence AGN Eddington luminosity) and star formation are both correlated with the galaxy mass.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2015


  • astro-ph.GA


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