Connecting Galaxy and Supermassive Black Hole Growth During the Last 8 Billion Years

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/202989
Title:
Connecting Galaxy and Supermassive Black Hole Growth During the Last 8 Billion Years
Author:
Juneau, Stephanie
Issue Date:
2011
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:
It has become increasingly clear that a complete picture of galaxy evolution requires a better understanding of the role of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN). In particular, they could be responsible for regulating star formation and galaxy growth via feedback processes. There are also competing views about the main modes of stellar growth and supermassive black hole growth in galaxies that need to be resolved. With high infrared luminosities (thus star formation rates) and a frequent occurrence of AGN, galaxies selected in the far-infrared wavebands form an ideal sample to search for a connection between AGN and star formation. The first part of this thesis contains a detailed analysis of the molecular gas properties of nearby infrared luminous and ultraluminous infrared galaxies (LIRGs and ULIRGs). We find that the enhanced molecular gas density in the most IR-luminous systems can be explained by major galaxy mergers, and that AGN are more likely to reside in higher-density systems. While the frequent concurrence of AGN and galaxy mergers in ULIRGs was already established, this work provides a coherent framework that explains trends observed with five molecular gas tracers with a broad range of critical densities, and a comparison with simulations that reproduce observed molecular line ratios without invoking AGN-induced chemistry. The second part of the thesis presents an analysis of the AGN content of intermediate redshift galaxies (0.3<z<1). However, identifying complete AGN samples at these redshift is challenging because it is difficult to find X-ray weak or absorbed AGN. To alleviate this problem, we developed the Mass-Excitation (MEx) diagram, which is applicable out to redshift of 1 with existing optical spectra. It improves the overall AGN census by detecting AGN that are missed in even the most sensitive X-ray surveys. The new diagnostic was used to study the concurrence of star formation and AGN in 70 micron-selected galaxies from the Far-Infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy survey. When multiple AGN diagnostics are combined, we find not only a high AGN fraction in FIR-selected galaxies (as high as for nearby FIR-selected galaxies), but a high incidence of X-ray absorbed AGN. These findings may have considerable implications for current views about the main mode of AGN growth.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
interstellar medium; Astronomy; active galaxies; galaxy evolution
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Astronomy
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Dickinson, Mark E.; Fan, Xiaohui

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleConnecting Galaxy and Supermassive Black Hole Growth During the Last 8 Billion Yearsen_US
dc.creatorJuneau, Stephanieen_US
dc.contributor.authorJuneau, Stephanieen_US
dc.date.issued2011-
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.abstractIt has become increasingly clear that a complete picture of galaxy evolution requires a better understanding of the role of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN). In particular, they could be responsible for regulating star formation and galaxy growth via feedback processes. There are also competing views about the main modes of stellar growth and supermassive black hole growth in galaxies that need to be resolved. With high infrared luminosities (thus star formation rates) and a frequent occurrence of AGN, galaxies selected in the far-infrared wavebands form an ideal sample to search for a connection between AGN and star formation. The first part of this thesis contains a detailed analysis of the molecular gas properties of nearby infrared luminous and ultraluminous infrared galaxies (LIRGs and ULIRGs). We find that the enhanced molecular gas density in the most IR-luminous systems can be explained by major galaxy mergers, and that AGN are more likely to reside in higher-density systems. While the frequent concurrence of AGN and galaxy mergers in ULIRGs was already established, this work provides a coherent framework that explains trends observed with five molecular gas tracers with a broad range of critical densities, and a comparison with simulations that reproduce observed molecular line ratios without invoking AGN-induced chemistry. The second part of the thesis presents an analysis of the AGN content of intermediate redshift galaxies (0.3<z<1). However, identifying complete AGN samples at these redshift is challenging because it is difficult to find X-ray weak or absorbed AGN. To alleviate this problem, we developed the Mass-Excitation (MEx) diagram, which is applicable out to redshift of 1 with existing optical spectra. It improves the overall AGN census by detecting AGN that are missed in even the most sensitive X-ray surveys. The new diagnostic was used to study the concurrence of star formation and AGN in 70 micron-selected galaxies from the Far-Infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy survey. When multiple AGN diagnostics are combined, we find not only a high AGN fraction in FIR-selected galaxies (as high as for nearby FIR-selected galaxies), but a high incidence of X-ray absorbed AGN. These findings may have considerable implications for current views about the main mode of AGN growth.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectinterstellar mediumen_US
dc.subjectAstronomyen_US
dc.subjectactive galaxiesen_US
dc.subjectgalaxy evolutionen_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.advisorDickinson, Mark E.en_US
dc.contributor.advisorFan, Xiaohuien_US
dc.contributor.committeememberDavé, Romeel A.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberZaritsky, Dennisen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberWeiner, Benjamin J.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberDickinson, Mark E.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberFan, Xiaohuien_US
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