While theory and simulations indicate that galaxy mergers play an important role in the cosmological evolution of accreting black holes and their host galaxies, samples of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) in galaxies at close separations are still small. In order to increase the sample of AGN pairs, we undertook an archival project to investigate the X-ray properties of an SDSS-selected sample of 32 galaxy pairs with separations ≤150 kpc containing one optically identified AGN, which were serendipitously observed by XMM-Newton. We discovered only one X-ray counterpart among the optically classified non-active galaxies, with a weak X-ray luminosity (∼ 5 × 1041 erg s-1). 59 per cent (19 out of 32) of the AGNs in our galaxy pair sample exhibit an X-ray counterpart, covering a wide range in absorption-corrected X-ray luminosity (5 × 1041-2 × 1044 erg s-1). More than 79 per cent of these AGNs are obscured (column density NH > 1022 cm-2), with more than half thereof (i.e. about 47 per cent of the total AGN sample) being Compton-thick. AGN/no-AGN pairs are therefore more frequently X-ray obscured (by a factor ∼1.5) than isolated AGNs. When compared to a luminosity and redshift-matched sample of bona fide dual AGN, AGN/no-AGN pairs exhibit one order-of-magnitude lower X-ray column density in the same separation range (>10 kpc). A small sample (4 objects) of AGN/no-AGN pairs with sub-pc separation is all heavily obscured, driving a formal anticorrelation between the X-ray column density and the galaxy pair separation in these systems. These findings suggest that the galactic environment has a key influence on the triggering of nuclear activity in merging galaxies.

Guainazzi, M., De Rosa, A., Bianchi, S., Husemann, B., Bogdanovic, T., Komossa, S., et al. (2021). An XMM-Newton study of active-inactive galaxy pairs. MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, 504(1), 393-405 [10.1093/mnras/stab808].

An XMM-Newton study of active-inactive galaxy pairs

De Rosa A.;Bianchi S.;Vignali C.
2021

Abstract

While theory and simulations indicate that galaxy mergers play an important role in the cosmological evolution of accreting black holes and their host galaxies, samples of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) in galaxies at close separations are still small. In order to increase the sample of AGN pairs, we undertook an archival project to investigate the X-ray properties of an SDSS-selected sample of 32 galaxy pairs with separations ≤150 kpc containing one optically identified AGN, which were serendipitously observed by XMM-Newton. We discovered only one X-ray counterpart among the optically classified non-active galaxies, with a weak X-ray luminosity (∼ 5 × 1041 erg s-1). 59 per cent (19 out of 32) of the AGNs in our galaxy pair sample exhibit an X-ray counterpart, covering a wide range in absorption-corrected X-ray luminosity (5 × 1041-2 × 1044 erg s-1). More than 79 per cent of these AGNs are obscured (column density NH > 1022 cm-2), with more than half thereof (i.e. about 47 per cent of the total AGN sample) being Compton-thick. AGN/no-AGN pairs are therefore more frequently X-ray obscured (by a factor ∼1.5) than isolated AGNs. When compared to a luminosity and redshift-matched sample of bona fide dual AGN, AGN/no-AGN pairs exhibit one order-of-magnitude lower X-ray column density in the same separation range (>10 kpc). A small sample (4 objects) of AGN/no-AGN pairs with sub-pc separation is all heavily obscured, driving a formal anticorrelation between the X-ray column density and the galaxy pair separation in these systems. These findings suggest that the galactic environment has a key influence on the triggering of nuclear activity in merging galaxies.
Guainazzi, M., De Rosa, A., Bianchi, S., Husemann, B., Bogdanovic, T., Komossa, S., et al. (2021). An XMM-Newton study of active-inactive galaxy pairs. MONTHLY NOTICES OF THE ROYAL ASTRONOMICAL SOCIETY, 504(1), 393-405 [10.1093/mnras/stab808].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11590/394288
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