Herschel ATLAS: the cosmic star formation history of quasar host galaxies

Serjeant, S.; Bertoldi, F.; Blain, A. W.; Clements, D. L.; Cooray, A.; Danese, L.; Dunlop, J.; Dunne, L.; Eales, S.; Falder, J.; Hatziminaoglou, E.; Hughes, D. H.; Ibar, E.; Jarvis, M. J.; Lawrence, A.; Lee, M. G.; Michałowski, M.; Negrello, M.; Omont, A.; Page, M.; Pearson, C.; van der Werf, P. P.; White, G.; Amblard, A.; Auld, R.; Baes, M.; Bonfield, D. G.; Burgarella, D.; Buttiglione, S.; Cava, A.; Dariush, A.; de Zotti, G.; Dye, S.; Frayer, D.; Fritz, J.; Gonzalez-Nuevo, J.; Herranz, D.; Ivison, R. J.; Lagache, G.; Leeuw, L.; Lopez-Caniego, M.; Maddox, S.; Pascale, E.; Pohlen, M.; Rigby, E.; Rodighiero, G.; Samui, S.; Sibthorpe, B.; Smith, D. J. B.; Temi, P.; Thompson, M.; Valtchanov, I. and Verma, A. (2010). Herschel ATLAS: the cosmic star formation history of quasar host galaxies. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 518, article no. L7.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/201014565

Abstract

We present a derivation of the star formation rate per comoving volume of quasar host galaxies, derived from stacking analyses of far-infrared to mm-wave photometry of quasars with redshifts 0 < z < 6 and absolute I-band magnitudes -22 > IAB > -32 We use the science demonstration observations of the first ~16 deg2 from the Herschel Astrophysical Terahertz Large Area Survey (H-ATLAS) in which there are 240 quasars from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and a further 171 from the 2dF-SDSS LRG and QSO (2SLAQ) survey. We supplement this data with a compilation of data from IRAS, ISO, Spitzer, SCUBA and MAMBO. H-ATLAS alone statistically detects the quasars in its survey area at >5σ at 250,350 and 500 μm. From the compilation as a whole we find striking evidence of downsizing in quasar host galaxy formation: low-luminosity quasars with absolute magnitudes in the range -22 > IAB > -24 have a comoving star formation rate (derived from 100 μm rest-frame luminosities) peaking between redshifts of 1 and 2, while high-luminosity quasars with IAB < -26 have a maximum contribution to the star formation density at z ~ 3. The volume-averaged star formation rate of -22 > IAB > -24 quasars evolves as (1 + z)2.3±0.7 at z < 2, but the evolution at higher luminosities is much faster reaching (1 + z)10±1 at -26 > IAB > -28. We tentatively interpret this as a combination of a declining major merger rate with time and gas consumption reducing fuel for both black hole accretion and star formation.

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