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The XMM deep survey in the CDF-S. VI. Obscured AGN selected as infrared power-law galaxies



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Castelló Mor, N. and Carrera, F. J. and Alonso Herrero, A. and Mateos, S. and Barcons, X. and Ranalli, P. and Pérez González, Pablo Guillermo and Comastri, A. and Vignali, C. and Georgantopoulos, I. (2013) The XMM deep survey in the CDF-S. VI. Obscured AGN selected as infrared power-law galaxies. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 556 . ISSN 0004-6361

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201321457


Context. Accretion onto supermassive black holes is believed to occur mostly in obscured active galactic nuclei (AGN). Such objects are proving rather elusive in surveys of distant galaxies, including those at X-ray energies. Aims. Our main goal is to determine whether the revised IRAC criteria of Donley et al. (2012, ApJ, 748, 142; objects with an infrared (IR) power-law spectral shape), are effective at selecting X-ray type-2 AGN (i.e., absorbed N_H > 10^22 cm^-2). Methods. We present the results from the X-ray spectral analysis of 147 AGN selected by cross-correlating the highest spectral quality ultra-deep XMM-Newton and the Spitzer/IRAC catalogues in the Chandra Deep Field South. Consequently it is biased towards sources with high S/N X-ray spectra. In order to measure the amount of intrinsic absorption in these sources, we adopt a simple X-ray spectral model that includes a power-law modified by intrinsic absorption at the redshift of each source and a possible soft X-ray component. Results. We find 21/147 sources to be heavily absorbed but the uncertainties in their obscuring column densities do not allow us to confirm their Compton-Thick nature without resorting to additional criteria. Although IR power-law galaxies are less numerous in our sample than IR non-power-law galaxies (60 versus 87 respectively), we find that the fraction of absorbed (N_H^intr > 10^22 cm^-2) AGN is significantly higher (at about 3 sigma level) for IR-power-law sources (similar to 2/3) than for those sources that do not meet this IR selection criteria (~1/2). This behaviour is particularly notable at low luminosities, but it appears to be present, although with a marginal significance, at all luminosities. Conclusions. We therefore conclude that the IR power-law method is efficient in finding X-ray-absorbed sources. We would then expect that the long-sought dominant population of absorbed AGN is abundant among IR power-law spectral shape sources not detected in X-rays.

Item Type:Article
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© ESO, 2013.
We are grateful to the referee for comments that helped improve the paper. This work is based on observations obtained with XMM-Newton, an ESA science mission with instruments and contributions directly funded by ESA Member States and NASA. N.C.-M., F.J.C., S.M. and X.B. acknowledge financial support provided by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness through grant AYA2010-21490-C02-01. S.M., F.J.C. and A.A.-H. acknowledge financial support by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness through grants AYA2010-21490-C02-01 and AYA2012-31447. SM acknowledges financial support from the JAE-Doc program (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, cofunded by FSE). A.A.-H. acknowledges support from the Universidad de Cantabria through the Augusto G. Linares program. P.G.P.-G. acknowledges support from the Spanish Programa Nacional de Astronomía y Astrofísica under grants AYA2009-07723-E and AYA2009-10368. This work has made use of the Rainbow Cosmological Surveys Database, which is operated by the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM). We acknowledge financial contribution from the agreement ASI-INAF I/009/10/0 and from the INAF-PRIN-2011.

Uncontrolled Keywords:Active galactic nuclei; Spitzer-space-telescope; Spectral energy-distribution; Quasi-stellar objects; Star-forming galaxies; Field-south survey; X-ray sources; Midinfrared selection; Synthesis models; Source catalogs
Subjects:Sciences > Physics > Astrophysics
Sciences > Physics > Astronomy
ID Code:38368
Deposited On:04 Jul 2016 13:50
Last Modified:05 Apr 2022 07:31

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