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Title: Running late: testing delayed supermassive black hole growth models against the quasar luminosity function
ABSTRACT Observations of massive galaxies at low redshift have revealed approximately linear scaling relations between the mass of a supermassive black hole (SMBH) and properties of its host galaxy. How these scaling relations evolve with redshift and whether they extend to lower-mass galaxies, however, remain open questions. Recent galaxy formation simulations predict a delayed, or ‘two-phase,’ growth of SMBHs: slow, highly intermittent BH growth due to repeated gas ejection by stellar feedback in low-mass galaxies, followed by more sustained gas accretion that eventually brings BHs on to the local scaling relations. The predicted two-phase growth implies a steep increase, or ‘kink,’ in BH-galaxy scaling relations at a stellar mass $\rm {M}_{*}\sim 5\times 10^{10}$ M⊙. We develop a parametric, semi-analytic model to compare different SMBH growth models against observations of the quasar luminosity function (QLF) at z ∼ 0.5−4. We compare models in which the relation between SMBH mass and galaxy mass is purely linear versus two-phase models. The models are anchored to the observed galaxy stellar mass function, and the BH mass functions at different redshifts are consistently connected by the accretion rates contributing to the QLF. The best fits suggest that two-phase evolution is significantly preferred by the QLF more » data over a purely linear scaling relation. Moreover, when the model parameters are left free, the two-phase model fits imply a transition mass consistent with that predicted by simulations. Our analysis motivates further observational tests, including measurements of BH masses and active galactic nuclei activity at the low-mass end, which could more directly test two-phase SMBH growth. « less
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Award ID(s):
2020265 2009687 1652522 2001905 1757792 2149425
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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