Weighing the Black Holes in z~2 Submillimeter-Emitting Galaxies Hosting Active Galactic Nuclei

D.M. Alexander, W.N. Brandt, I. Smail, A.M. Swinbank, F. E. Bauer, A.W. Blain, S.C. Chapman, Kristen Coppin, R.J. Ivison, K. Menendez-Delmestre

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We place direct observational constraints on the black-hole masses of the cosmologically important z~2 submillimeter-emitting galaxy (SMG; f850>4mJy) population, and use measured host-galaxy masses to explore their evolutionary status. We employ the well-established virial black-hole mass estimator to 'weigh' the black holes of a sample of z~2 SMGs with broad Halpha or Hbeta emission. The average black-hole mass and Eddington ratio (eta) of the lower-luminosity broad-line SMGs (L_X~10^44 erg/s} are log(M_BH/M_sol)~8.0 and eta~0.2, respectively. These lower-luminosity broad-line SMGs lie in the same location of the L_X-L_FIR plane as more typical SMGs hosting X-ray obscured AGN and may be intrinsically similar systems, but orientated so that the rest-frame optical nucleus is visible. Under this hypothesis, we conclude that SMGs host black holes with log(M_BH/M_odot)~7.8; we find supporting evidence from observations of local ULIRGs. Combining these black-hole mass constraints with measured host-galaxy masses, we find that the black holes in SMGs are >3 times smaller than those found in comparably massive normal galaxies in the local Universe, albeit with considerable uncertainty, and >10 times smaller than those predicted for z~2 luminous quasars and radio galaxies. These results imply that the growth of the black hole lags that of the host galaxy in SMGs, in stark contrast with that previously suggested for radio galaxies and luminous quasars at z~2. On the basis of current host-galaxy mass constraints, we show that SMGs and their descendants cannot lie significantly above the locally defined M_BH-M_GAL relationship. We argue that the black holes in the z~0 descendents of SMGs will have log(M_BH/M_odot)~8.6, indicating that they only need to grow by a factor of ~6 by the present day (ABRIDGED).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1968-1981
Number of pages14
JournalThe Astronomical Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2008


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