Concurrent supermassive black hole and galaxy growth: linking environment and nuclear activity in z=2.23 alpha emitters

B.D. Lehmer, A. B. Lucy, D.M. Alexander, P.N. Best, J. E. Geach, C. M. Harrison, A. E. Hornschemeier, Y. Matsuda, J. R. Mullaney, Ian Smail, D. Sobral, A.M. Swinbank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)


We present results from a approximate to 100 ks Chandra observation of the 2QZ Cluster 1004+00 structure at z = 2.23 (hereafter 2QZ Clus). 2QZ Clus was originally identified as an overdensity of four optically-selected QSOs at z = 2.23 within a 15 x 15 arcmin(2) region. Narrow-band imaging in the near-IR (within the K band) revealed that the structure contains an additional overdensity of 22 z = 2.23 H alpha-emitting galaxies (HAEs), resulting in 23 unique z = 2.23 HAEs/QSOs (22 within the Chandra field of view). Our Chandra observations reveal that three HAEs in addition to the four QSOs harbor powerfully accreting supermassive black holes (SMBHs), with 2-10 keV luminosities of approximate to(8-60) x 10(43) erg s(-1) and X-ray spectral slopes consistent with unobscured active galactic nucleus (AGN). Using a large comparison sample of 210 z = 2.23 HAEs in the Chandra-COSMOS field (C-COSMOS), we find suggestive evidence that the AGN fraction increases with local HAE galaxy density. The 2QZ Clus HAEs reside in a moderately overdense environment (a factor of approximate to 2 times over the field), and after excluding optically-selected QSOs, we find that the AGN fraction is a factor of approximate to 3.5(-2.2)(+3.8) times higher than C-COSMOS HAEs in similar environments. Using stacking analyses of the Chandra data and Herschel SPIRE observations at 250 mu m, we respectively estimate mean SMBH accretion rates ((M) over dot(BH)) and star formation rates (SFRs) for the 2QZ Clus and C-COSMOS samples. We find that the mean 2QZ Clus HAE stacked X-ray luminosity is QSO-like (L2-10 keV approximate to [6-10] x 10(43) erg s(-1)), and the implied (M) over dot(BH)/SFR approximate to(1.6-3.2) x 10(-3) is broadly consistent with the local M-BH/M-star relation and z approximate to 2 X-ray selected AGN. In contrast, the C-COSMOS HAEs are on average an order of magnitude less X-ray luminous and have (M) over dot(BH)/SFR approximate to (0.2-0.4) x 10(-3), somewhat lower than the local M-BH/M-star relation, but comparable to that found for z approximate to 1-2 star-forming galaxies with similar mean X-ray luminosities. We estimate that a periodic QSO phase with duty cycle approximate to 2%-8% would be sufficient to bring star-forming galaxies onto the local M-BH/M-star relation. This duty cycle is broadly consistent with the observed C-COSMOS HAE AGN fraction (approximate to 0.4%-2.3%) for powerful AGN with L-X greater than or similar to 10(44) erg s(-1). Future observations of 2QZ Clus will be needed to identify key factors responsible for driving the mutual growth of the SMBHs and galaxies.

Original languageEnglish
Article number87
Number of pages11
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Mar 2013


  • X-rays: general
  • cosmology: observations
  • galaxies: active
  • galaxies: clusters: general
  • early universe
  • surveys


Dive into the research topics of 'Concurrent supermassive black hole and galaxy growth: linking environment and nuclear activity in z=2.23 alpha emitters'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this