The relationship of active galactic nuclei & quasars with their local galaxy environment

2009 2009

Other formats: Order a copy

Abstract (summary)

We explore how the local environment is related to properties of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) of various luminosities. Recent simulations and observations are converging on the view that the extreme luminosity of quasars, the brightest of AGNs, is fueled in major mergers of gas-rich galaxies. In such a picture, quasars, the highest luminosity AGNs, are expected to be located in regions with a higher density of galaxies on small scales where mergers are more likely to take place. However, in this picture, the activity observed in low-luminosity AGNs is due to secular processes that are less dependent on the local galaxy density. To test this hypothesis, we compare the local photometric galaxy density on kiloparsec scales around spectroscopic type I and type II quasars to the local density around lower-luminosity spectroscopic type I and type II AGNs. To minimize projection effects and evolution in the photometric galaxy sample we use to characterize AGN environments, we place our random control sample at the same redshift as our AGNs and impose a narrow redshift window around both the AGNs and control targets. Our results support these merger models for bright AGN origins. We find that the brightest sources have overdensities that increase on the smallest scales compared to dimmer sources. In addition, we investigate the nature of the quasar and AGN environments themselves and find that the increased overdensity of early-type galaxies in the environments of bright type I sources suggests that they are located in richer cluster environments than dim sources. We measure increased environment overdensity with increased quasar black hole mass, consistent with the well-known M DMH – MBH relationship, and find evidence for quenching in the environments of high accretion efficiency type I quasars.

Indexing (details)

0606: Astronomy
Identifier / keyword
Pure sciences; Active galactic nuclei; Cosmology: observations; Large-scale structure of Universe; Quasars
The relationship of active galactic nuclei & quasars with their local galaxy environment
Strand, Natalie Erin
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-B 71/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Stack, John; Brunner, Robert
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University location
United States -- Illinois
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
Access the complete full text

You can get the full text of this document if it is part of your institution's ProQuest subscription.

Try one of the following:

  • Connect to ProQuest through your library network and search for the document from there.
  • Request the document from your library.
  • Go to the ProQuest login page and enter a ProQuest or My Research username / password.