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Creators/Authors contains: "Satyapal, Shobita"

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  1. Abstract

    We investigate the role of galaxy mergers in triggering active galactic nuclei (AGN) in the nearby universe. Our analysis is based on a sample of 79 post-merger remnant galaxies with deep X-ray observations from Chandra/XMM-Newton capable of detecting a low-luminosity AGN of ≥1040.5erg s−1. This sample is derived from a visually classified, volume-limited sample of 807 post-mergers identified in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 14 with logM*/M≥ 10.5 and 0.02 ≤z≤ 0.06. We find that the X-ray AGN fraction in this sample is 55.7% ± 5.6% compared to 23.6% ± 2.8% for a mass- and redshift-matched noninteracting control sample. The multiwavelength AGN fraction (identified as an AGN in one of X-ray, IR, radio or optical diagnostics) for post-mergers is 76.6% ± 4.8% compared to 39.1% ± 3.2% for controls. Thus post-mergers exhibit a high overall AGN fraction with an excess between 2 and 4 depending on the AGN diagnostics used. In addition, we find most optical, IR, and radio AGN are also identified as X-ray AGN while a large fraction of X-ray AGN are not identified in any other diagnostic. This highlights the importance of deep X-ray imaging to identify AGN. We find that the X-ray AGNmore »fraction of post-mergers is independent of the stellar mass above logM*/M≥ 10.5 unlike the trend seen in control galaxies. Overall, our results show that post-merger galaxies are a good tracer of the merger–AGN connection and strongly support the theoretical expectations that mergers trigger AGN.

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  2. Abstract

    While it is generally believed that supermassive black holes (SMBHs) lie in most galaxies with bulges, few SMBHs have been confirmed in bulgeless galaxies. Identifying such a population could provide important insights to the BH seed population and secular BH growth. To this end, we obtained near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopic observations of a sample of low-redshift bulgeless galaxies with mid-infrared colors suggestive of active galactic nuclei (AGNs). We find additional evidence of AGN activity (such as coronal lines and broad permitted lines) in 69% (9/13) of the sample, demonstrating that mid-infrared selection is a powerful tool to detect AGNs. More than half of the galaxies with confirmed AGN activity show fast outflows in [Oiii] in the optical and/or [Sivi] in the NIR, with the latter generally having much faster velocities that are also correlated to their spatial extent. We are also able to obtain virial BH masses for some targets and find they fall within the scatter of other late-type galaxies in theMBHMstellarrelation. The fact that they lack a significant bulge component indicates that secular processes, likely independent of major mergers, grew these BHs to supermassive sizes. Finally, we analyze the rotational gas kinematics and find two notable exceptions: twomore »AGN hosts with outflows that appear to be rotating faster than expected. There is an indication that these two galaxies have stellar masses significantly lower than expected from their dark matter halo masses. This, combined with the observed AGN activity and strong gas outflows, may be evidence of the effects of AGN feedback.

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    Powerful outflows are thought to play a critical role in galaxy evolution and black hole growth. We present the first large-scale systematic study of ionized outflows in paired galaxies and post-mergers compared to a robust control sample of isolated galaxies. We isolate the impact of the merger environment to determine if outflow properties depend on merger stage. Our sample contains ∼4000 paired galaxies and ∼250 post-mergers in the local universe (0.02 ≤ z ≤ 0.2) from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 7 (SDSS DR 7) matched in stellar mass, redshift, local density of galaxies, and [O iii] λ5007 luminosity to a control sample of isolated galaxies. By fitting the [O iii] λ5007 line, we find ionized outflows in ∼15 per cent of our entire sample. Outflows are much rarer in star-forming galaxies compared to active galactic nuclei (AGNs), and outflow incidence and velocity increase with [O iii] λ5007 luminosity. Outflow incidence is significantly elevated in the optical + mid-infrared selected AGN compared to purely optical AGN; over 60 per cent show outflows at the highest luminosities ($L_{\mathrm{[OIII]~\lambda 5007}}\, \gtrsim$ 1042 erg s−1), suggesting mid-infrared AGN selection favours galaxies with powerful outflows, at least for higher [O iii] λ5007 luminosities. However, we find no statistically significant difference in outflow incidence, velocity, and luminosity inmore »mergers compared to isolated galaxies, and there is no dependence on merger stage. Therefore, while interactions are predicted to drive gas inflows and subsequently trigger nuclear star formation and accretion activity, when the power source of the outflow is controlled for, the merging environment has no further impact on the large-scale ionized outflows as traced by [O iii] λ5007.

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  4. Abstract Galaxy mergers are predicted to trigger accretion onto the central supermassive black holes, with the highest rates occurring during final coalescence. Previously, we have shown elevated rates of both optical and mid-IR selected active galactic nuclei (AGN) in post-mergers, but to date the prevalence of X-ray AGN has not been examined in the same systematic way. We present XMM-Newton data of 43 post-merger galaxies selected from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey along with 430 non-interacting control galaxies matched in stellar mass, redshift, and environment in order to test for an excess of hard X-ray (2–10 keV) emission in post-mergers attributable to triggered AGN. We find 2 X-ray detections in the post-mergers ($4.7^{+9.3}_{-3.8}\%$) and 9 in the controls ($2.1^{+1.5}_{-1.0}\%$), an excess of $2.22^{+4.44}_{-2.22}$, where the confidence intervals are 90%. While we therefore do not find statistically significant evidence for an X-ray AGN excess in post-mergers (p = 0.26), we find a factor of ∼17 excess of mid-IR AGN in our sample, consistent with past work and inconsistent with the observed X-ray excess (p = 2.7 × 10−4). Dominant, luminous AGN are therefore more frequent in post-mergers, and the lack of a comparable excess of 2–10 keV X-ray AGN suggests that AGN inmore »post-mergers are more likely to be heavily obscured. Our results are consistent with the post-merger stage being characterised by enhanced AGN fueling, heavy AGN obscuration, and more intrinsically luminous AGN, in line with theoretical predictions.« less