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Do AGN really suppress star formation?

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Christopher HarrisonORCiD, Dr David Rosario


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© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of International Astronomical Union. Active galactic nuclei (AGN) are believed to regulate star formation inside their host galaxies through "AGN feedback". We summarise our on-going study of luminous AGN (z ∼0.2-3; LAGN,bol 1043 erg s-1), which is designed to search for observational signatures of feedback by combining observed star-formation rate (SFR) measurements from statistical samples with cosmological model predictions. Using the EAGLE hydrodynamical cosmological simulations, in combination with our Herschel + ALMA surveys, we show that - even in the presence of AGN feedback - we do not necessarily expect to see any relationships between average galaxy-wide SFRs and instantaneous AGN luminosities. We caution that the correlation with stellar mass for both SFR and AGN luminosity can contribute to apparent observed positive trends between these two quantities. On the other hand, the EAGLE simulations, which reproduce our observations, predict that a signature of AGN feedback can be seen in the wide specific SFR distributions of all massive galaxies (not just AGN hosts). Overall, whilst we can not rule out that AGN have an immediate small-scale impact on in-situ star-formation, all of our results are consistent with a feedback model where galaxy-wide in-situ star formation is not rapidly suppressed by AGN, but where the feedback likely acts over a longer timescale than a single AGN episode.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Harrison CM, Alexander DM, Rosario DJ, Scholtz J, Stanley F

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union

Year: 2019

Volume: 15

Pages: 199-203

Print publication date: 01/10/2019

Online publication date: 29/01/2021

Acceptance date: 02/04/2018

ISSN (print): 1743-9213

ISSN (electronic): 1743-9221

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S1743921320002902


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