Black Hole Growth and Star Formation in a Complete Sample of Seyfert Galaxies

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/145384
Title:
Black Hole Growth and Star Formation in a Complete Sample of Seyfert Galaxies
Author:
Diamond-Stanic, Aleksandar
Issue Date:
2010
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
I investigate methods for determining black hole accretion rates and star-formation rates in galaxies hosting active galactic nuclei (AGNs) and use these results to identify biases in our census of black hole growth, to probe fundamental differences between obscured and unobscured AGNs, and to explore the connection between black hole growth and galaxy evolution. I show that the mid-infrared [O IV] emission line, which probes high-ionization gas and suffers little dust attenuation, is a useful diagnostic of AGN luminosity. Using [O IV] measurements for a complete sample of Seyfert galaxies, I show that the intrinsic luminosities of obscured and unobscured AGNs are quite similar. This is in contrast to the [O III] optical emission line and hard X-ray continuum luminosities, which are systematically smaller for obscured Seyferts, revealing strong biases in existing AGN surveys. I also explore the effect of AGNs on the mid-infrared aromatic features, which are useful probes of star-formation activity. I find that the 6.2, 7.7, and 8.6 micron features are suppressed relative to the 11.3 micron feature in Seyfert galaxies, and show that this behavior is correlated with the strength of the rotational H2 (molecular hydrogen) emission, which traces shocked gas. This suggests that shocks associated with the AGN modify the structure of aromatic molecules, but I show that the 11.3 micron aromatic feature is robust to the effects of such shock processing, and use it to estimate nuclear star-formation rates for AGN host galaxies. I find an approximately linear relationship between black hole accretion rate and nuclear star-formation rate, and show that high-luminosity AGNs reside in galaxies with more centrally concentrated star formation. This suggests that the strength of AGN activity is driven by the amount of gas in the central few hundred parsecs, and is consistent with models where AGN activity is linked with elevated nuclear star formation.
Type:
Electronic Dissertation; text
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Astronomy
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Rieke, George

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleBlack Hole Growth and Star Formation in a Complete Sample of Seyfert Galaxiesen_US
dc.creatorDiamond-Stanic, Aleksandaren_US
dc.contributor.authorDiamond-Stanic, Aleksandaren_US
dc.date.issued2010-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractI investigate methods for determining black hole accretion rates and star-formation rates in galaxies hosting active galactic nuclei (AGNs) and use these results to identify biases in our census of black hole growth, to probe fundamental differences between obscured and unobscured AGNs, and to explore the connection between black hole growth and galaxy evolution. I show that the mid-infrared [O IV] emission line, which probes high-ionization gas and suffers little dust attenuation, is a useful diagnostic of AGN luminosity. Using [O IV] measurements for a complete sample of Seyfert galaxies, I show that the intrinsic luminosities of obscured and unobscured AGNs are quite similar. This is in contrast to the [O III] optical emission line and hard X-ray continuum luminosities, which are systematically smaller for obscured Seyferts, revealing strong biases in existing AGN surveys. I also explore the effect of AGNs on the mid-infrared aromatic features, which are useful probes of star-formation activity. I find that the 6.2, 7.7, and 8.6 micron features are suppressed relative to the 11.3 micron feature in Seyfert galaxies, and show that this behavior is correlated with the strength of the rotational H2 (molecular hydrogen) emission, which traces shocked gas. This suggests that shocks associated with the AGN modify the structure of aromatic molecules, but I show that the 11.3 micron aromatic feature is robust to the effects of such shock processing, and use it to estimate nuclear star-formation rates for AGN host galaxies. I find an approximately linear relationship between black hole accretion rate and nuclear star-formation rate, and show that high-luminosity AGNs reside in galaxies with more centrally concentrated star formation. This suggests that the strength of AGN activity is driven by the amount of gas in the central few hundred parsecs, and is consistent with models where AGN activity is linked with elevated nuclear star formation.en_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.typetexten_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineAstronomyen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorRieke, Georgeen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberBechtold, Jillen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberFan, Xiaohuien_US
dc.contributor.committeememberGreen, Richarden_US
dc.contributor.committeememberOzel, Feryalen_US
dc.identifier.proquest11264-
dc.identifier.oclc752261289-
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