Star formation and black hole growth at z ≃ 4.8

Hagai Netzer, Rivay Mor, Benny Trakhtenbrot, Ohad Shemmer, Paulina Lira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report Herschel/SPIRE, Spitzer and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer observations of 44 z ≃ 4.8 optically selected active galactic nuclei (AGNs). This flux-limited sample contains the highest mass black holes (BHs) at this redshift. Ten of the objects were detected by Herschel and five show emission that is not clearly associated with the AGNs. The star formation (SF) luminosity (L SF) obtained by fitting the spectral energy distribution (SED) with standard SF templates, taking into account AGN contribution, is in the range 1046.62-1047.21 erg s -1 corresponding to SF rates of 1090-4240 M yr -1. Fitting with very luminous submillimeter galaxy SEDs gives SF rates that are smaller by 0.05 dex when using all bands and 0.1 dex when ignoring the 250 μm band. A 40 K graybody fits to only the 500 μm fluxes reduce L SF by about a factor of two. A stacking analysis of 29 undetected sources gives significant signals in all three bands. A SF template fit indicates L SF = 1046.19-46.23 erg s-1 depending on the assumed AGN contribution. A 40 K fit to the stacked 500 μm flux gives L SF = 1045.95 erg s-1. The mean BH mass (M BH) and AGN luminosity (L AGN) of the detected sources are significantly higher than those of the undetected ones. The spectral differences are seen all the way from UV to far infrared wavelengths. The mean optical-UV spectra are similar to those predicted for thin accretion disks around BHs with similar masses and accretion rates. We suggest two alternative explanations to the correlation of L SF, L AGN and M BH, one involving no AGN feedback and the second involving moderate feedback that affects, but does not totally quench, SF in three-quarters of the sources. We compare our L SF and L AGN to lower redshift samples and show a new correlation between L SF and M BH. We also examine several rather speculative ideas about the host galaxy properties including the possibility that the detected sources are above the SF mass sequence (MS) at z ≃ 4.8, perhaps in mergers, and most of the undetected sources are on the MS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number34
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 10 Aug 2014


  • active - galaxies
  • galaxies
  • general
  • star formation - quasars

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Star formation and black hole growth at z ≃ 4.8'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this