The Close AGN Reference Survey (CARS): IFU survey data and the BH mass dependence of long-term AGN variability

Article


Husemann, B., Singha, M., Scharwächter, J., McElroy, R., Neumann, J., Smirnova-Pinchukova, I., Urrutia, T., Baum, S.A., Bennert, V. N., Combes, F., Croom, S. M., Davis, T. A., Fournier, Y., Galkin, A., Gaspari, M., Enke, H., Krumpe, M., O'Dea, C., Pérez-Torres, M., ..., Walcher, J.. 2022. "The Close AGN Reference Survey (CARS): IFU survey data and the BH mass dependence of long-term AGN variability." Astronomy and Astrophysics: a European journal. 659. https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/202141312
Article Title

The Close AGN Reference Survey (CARS): IFU survey data and the BH mass dependence of long-term AGN variability

ERA Journal ID1050
Article CategoryArticle
AuthorsHusemann, B., Singha, M., Scharwächter, J., McElroy, R., Neumann, J., Smirnova-Pinchukova, I., Urrutia, T., Baum, S.A., Bennert, V. N., Combes, F., Croom, S. M., Davis, T. A., Fournier, Y., Galkin, A., Gaspari, M., Enke, H., Krumpe, M., O'Dea, C., Pérez-Torres, M., Rose, T., Tremblay, G. R. and Walcher, J.
Journal TitleAstronomy and Astrophysics: a European journal
Journal Citation659
Article NumberA124
Number of Pages40
Year2022
PublisherEDP Sciences
Place of PublicationFrance
ISSN0004-6361
1432-0746
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/202141312
Web Address (URL)https://www.aanda.org/articles/aa/full_html/2022/03/aa41312-21/aa41312-21.html
Abstract

Context. Active galactic nuclei (AGN) are thought to be intimately connected with their host galaxies through feeding and feedback processes. A strong coupling is predicted and supported by cosmological simulations of galaxy formation, but the details of the physical mechanisms are still observationally unconstrained.

Aims. Galaxies are complex systems of stars and a multiphase interstellar medium (ISM). A spatially resolved multiwavelength survey is required to map the interaction of AGN with their host galaxies on different spatial scales and different phases of the ISM. The goal of the Close AGN Reference Survey (CARS) is to obtain the necessary spatially resolved multiwavelength observations for an unbiased sample of local unobscured luminous AGN.

Methods. We present the overall CARS survey design and the associated wide-field optical integral-field unit (IFU) spectroscopy for all 41 CARS targets at z < 0.06 randomly selected from the Hamburg/ESO survey of luminous unobscured AGN. This data set provides the backbone of the CARS survey and allows us to characterize host galaxy morphologies, AGN parameters, precise systemic redshifts, and ionized gas distributions including excitation conditions, kinematics, and metallicities in unprecedented detail.

Results. We focus our study on the size of the extended narrow-line region (ENLR) which has been traditionally connected to AGN luminosity. Given the large scatter in the ENLR size–luminosity relation, we performed a large parameter search to identify potentially more fundamental relations. Remarkably, we identified the strongest correlation between the maximum projected ENLR size and the black hole mass, consistent with an RENLR,max ∼ MBH0.5 relationship. We interpret the maximum ENLR size as a timescale indicator of a single black hole (BH) radiative-efficient accretion episode for which we inferred 〈log(tAGN/[yr])〉 = (0.45 ± 0.08)log(MBH/[M⊙]) + 1.78−0.67+0.54 using forward modeling. The extrapolation of our inferred relation toward higher BH masses is consistent with an independent lifetime estimate from the He II proximity zones around luminous AGN at z ∼ 3.

Conclusions. While our proposed link between the BH mass and AGN lifetime might be a secondary correlation itself or impacted by unknown biases, it has a few relevant implications if confirmed. For example, the famous AGN Eigenvector 1 parameter space may be partially explained by the range in AGN lifetimes. Also, the lack of observational evidence for negative AGN feedback on star formation can be explained by such timescale effects. Further observational tests are required to confirm or rule out our BH mass dependent AGN lifetime hypothesis.

Keywordssurveys; quasars: general; quasars: supermassive black holes;
Contains Sensitive ContentDoes not contain sensitive content
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020510102. Astronomical instrumentation
Byline AffiliationsMax Planck Institute for Astronomy, Germany
University of Manitoba, Canada
NSF's National Optical Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory (NOIRLab), United States
University of Sydney
University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom
Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam, Germany
California Polytechnic State University, United States
Paris Sciences and Letters University, France
Cardiff University, United Kingdom
INAF Observatory of Astrophysics and Space Science, Italy
Princeton University, United States
Institute of Astrophysics of Andalusia, Spain
University of Zaragoza, Spain
Durham University, United Kingdom
Center for Astrophysics Harvard and Smithsonian, United States
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The 6dF Galaxy Survey: Final redshift release (DR3) and southern large-scale structures
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The radial velocity experiment (RAVE): first data release
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