The incidence of X-ray selected AGN in nearby galaxies
We present the identification and analysis of an unbiased sample of active galactic nuclei (AGN) that lie within the local galaxy population. Using the MPA-JHU catalogue (based on SDSS DR8) and 3XMM DR7 we define a parent sample of 25 949 local galaxies (z ≤ 0.33). After confirming that there was strictly no AGN light contaminating stellar mass and star-formation rate calculations, we identified 917 galaxies with central, excess X-ray emission likely originating from an AGN. We analysed their optical emission lines using the BPT diagnostic and confirmed that such techniques are more effective at reliably identifying sources as AGN in higher mass galaxies: rising from 30 per cent agreement in the lowest mass bin to 93 per cent in the highest. We then calculated the growth rates of the black holes powering these AGN in terms of their specific accretion rates (∝LX/M*). Our sample exhibits a wide range of accretion rates, with the majority accreting at rates ≤0.5 percent of their Eddington luminosity. Finally, we used our sample to calculate the incidence of AGN as a function of stellar mass and redshift. After correcting for the varying sensitivity of 3XMM, we split the galaxy sample by stellar mass and redshift and investigated the AGN fraction as a function of X-ray luminosity and specific black hole accretion rate. From this we found the fraction of galaxies hosting AGN above a fixed specific accretion rate limit of 10−3.5 is constant (at ≈1 percent) over stellar masses of 8 < log M*/M⊙ < 12 and increases (from ≈1 percent to 10 per cent) with redshift.
CitationMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 510, Issue 3, March 2022, Pages 4556–4572, https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stab3573
Author affiliationDepartment of Physics and Astronomy, University of Leicester
- AM (Accepted Manuscript)