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          Institute: MPI für Astronomie     Collection: Publikationen_mpia     Display Documents

ID: 660955.0, MPI für Astronomie / Publikationen_mpia
The nature of double-peaked [O III] active galactic nuclei
Authors:Fu, H.; Yan, L.; Myers, A. D.; Stockton, A.; Djorgovski, S. G.; Aldering, G.; Rich, J. A.
Date of Publication (YYYY-MM-DD):2012
Journal Abbrev.:The Astrophysical Journal
Issue / Number:1
Start Page:id. 67
Audience:Not Specified
Abstract / Description:Active galactic nuclei (AGNs) with double-peaked [O III] lines are suspected to be sub-kpc or kpc-scale binary AGNs. However, pure gas kinematics can produce the same double-peaked line profile in spatially integrated spectra. Here we combine integral-field spectroscopy and high-resolution imaging of 42 double-peaked [O III] AGNs from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey to investigate the constituents of the population. We find two binary AGNs where the line splitting is driven by the orbital motion of the merging nuclei. Such objects account for only ~2% of the double-peaked AGNs. Almost all (~98%) of the double-peaked AGNs were selected because of gas kinematics; and half of those show spatially resolved narrow-line regions that extend 4-20 kpc from the nuclei. Serendipitously, we find two spectrally unresolved binary AGNs where gas kinematics produced the double-peaked [O III] lines. The relatively frequent serendipitous discoveries indicate that only ~1% of binary AGNs would appear double-peaked in Sloan spectra and 2.2+2.5 -0.8% of all Sloan AGNs are binary AGNs. Therefore, the double-peaked sample does not offer much advantage over any other AGN samples in finding binary AGNs. The binary AGN fraction implies an elevated AGN duty cycle (8+8 -3%), suggesting galaxy interactions enhance nuclear accretion. We illustrate that integral-field spectroscopy is crucial for identifying binary AGNs: several objects previously classified as "binary AGNs" with long-slit spectra are most likely single AGNs with extended narrow-line regions (ENLRs). The formation of ENLRs driven by radiation pressure is also discussed. Some of the data presented herein were obtained at the W.M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation.
Free Keywords:galaxies: active; galaxies: formation; galaxies: interactions; galaxies: nuclei; quasars: emission lines
External Publication Status:published
Document Type:Article
Communicated by:N. N.
Affiliations:MPI für Astronomie
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