AGN host galaxies at redshift z~0.7: peculiar or not?
Asmus Boehm, Lutz Wisotzki, Eric F.Bell, Knud Jahnke, Christian Wolf, David Bacon, Marco Barden, Meghan E. Gray, Goetz Hoeppe, Sharda Jogee, Dan H. McIntosh, Chien Y. Peng, Adai R. Robaina, Michael Balogh, Fabio D. Barazza, John A. R. Caldwell, Catherine Heymans, Boris Haeussler, Eelco van Kampen, Kyle Lane, Klaus Meisenheimer, Sebastian F. Sanchez, Andy N. Taylor, Xianzhong Zheng
We perform a quantitative morphological comparison between the hosts of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) and quiescent galaxies at intermediate redshifts (z~0.7). The imaging data are taken from the large HST/ACS mosaics of the GEMS and STAGES surveys. Our main aim is to test whether nuclear activity at this cosmic epoch is triggered by major mergers. Using images of quiescent galaxies and stars, we create synthetic AGN images to investigate the impact of an optical nucleus on the morphological analysis of AGN hosts. Galaxy morphologies are parameterized using the asymmetry index A, concentration index C, Gini coefficient G and M20 index. A sample of ~200 synthetic AGN is matched to 21 real AGN in terms of redshift, host brightness and host-to-nucleus ratio to ensure a reliable comparison between active and quiescent galaxies. The optical nuclei strongly affect the morphological parameters of the underlying host galaxy. Taking these effects into account, we find that the morphologies of the AGN hosts are clearly distinct from galaxies undergoing violent gravitational interactions. In fact, the host galaxies’ distributions in morphological descriptor space are more similar to undisturbed galaxies than major mergers. Intermediate-luminosity (Lx < 10^44 erg/s) AGN hosts at z~0.7 show morphologies similar to the general population of massive galaxies with significant bulges at the same redshifts. If major mergers are the driver of nuclear activity at this epoch, the signatures of gravitational interactions fade rapidly before the optical AGN phase starts, making them undetectable on single-orbit HST images, at least with usual morphological descriptors. This could be investigated in future synthetic observations created from numerical simulations of galaxy-galaxy interactions.
NRO M33 All-Disk Survey of Giant Molecular Clouds (NRO MAGiC): II. Dense Gas Formation within Giant Molecular Clouds in M33
We report the results of our observations of the 12CO (J=1-0) and 12CO (J=3-2) line emission of 74 major giant molecular clouds (GMCs) within the galactocentric distance of 5.1 kpc in the Local Group galaxy M33. The observations have been conducted as part of the Nobeyama Radio Observatory M33 All-disk survey of Giant Molecular Clouds project (NRO MAGiC). The spatial resolutions are 80 pc for 12CO (J=1-0) and 100 pc for 12CO (J=3-2). We detect 12CO (J=3-2) emission of 65 GMCs successfully. Furthermore, we find that the correlation between the surface density of the star formation rate, which is derived from a linear combination of Halpha and 24um emissions, and the 12CO (J=3-2) integrated intensity still holds at this scale. This result show that the star-forming activity is closely associated with warm and dense gases that are traced with the 12CO (J=3-2) line, even in the scale of GMCs. We also find that the GMCs with a high star-forming activity tend to show a high integrated intensity ratio (R3-2/1-0). Moreover, we also observe a mass-dependent trend of R3-2/1-0 for the GMCs with a low star-forming activity. From these results, we speculate that the R3-2/1-0 values of the GMCs with a low star-forming activity mainly depend on the dense gas fraction and not on the temperature, and therefore, the dense gas fraction increases with the mass of GMCs, at least in the GMCs with a low star-forming activity.