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Title: Gemini near-infrared spectroscopy of high-redshift Fermi blazars: jetted black holes in the early universe were overly massive

Jetted active galactic nuclei (AGNs) are the principal extragalactic γ-ray sources. Fermi-detected high-redshift (z > 3) blazars are jetted AGNs thought to be powered by massive, rapidly spinning supermassive black holes (SMBHs) in the early universe (<2 Gyr). They provide a laboratory to study early black hole (BH) growth and super-Eddington accretion – possibly responsible for the more rapid formation of jetted BHs. However, previous virial BH masses of z > 3 blazars were based on C iv λ1549 in the observed optical, but C iv λ1549 is known to be biased by strong outflows. We present new Gemini/GNIRS near-infrared spectroscopy for a sample of nine z > 3 Fermi γ-ray blazars with available multiwavelength observations that maximally sample the spectral energy distributions (SEDs). We estimate virial BH masses based on the better calibrated broad H β and/or Mg ii λ2800. We compare the new virial BH masses against independent mass estimates from SED modelling. Our work represents the first step in campaigning for more robust virial BH masses and Eddington ratios for high-redshift Fermi blazars. Our new results confirm that high-redshift Fermi blazars indeed host overly massive SMBHs as suggested by previous work, which may pose a theoretical challenge for models of the rapid early growth of jetted SMBHs.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Medium: X Size: p. 5356-5365
["p. 5356-5365"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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