The clustering of active galactic nuclei in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

Wake, David A.; Miller, Christopher J.; Di Matteo, Tiziana; Nichol, Robert C.; Pope, Adrian; Szalay, Alexander S.; Gray, Alexander; Schneider, Donald P. and York, Donald G. (2004). The clustering of active galactic nuclei in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 610(2) L85-L88.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/423317

Abstract

We present the two-point correlation function (2PCF) of narrow-line active galactic nuclei (AGNs) selected within the First Data Release of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Using a sample of 13,605 AGNs in the redshift range 0.055 < z < 0.2, we find that the AGN autocorrelation function is consistent with the observed galaxy autocorrelation function on scales from 0.2 to greater than 100 h-1 Mpc. The AGN hosts trace an intermediate population of galaxies and are not detected in either the bluest (youngest) disk-dominated galaxies or many of the reddest (oldest) galaxies. We show that the AGN 2PCF is dependent on the luminosity of the narrow [OIII] emission line (L[OIII] with low L[OIII] AGNs having a higher clustering amplitude than high L[OIII] AGNs. This is consistent with lower activity AGNs residing in more massive galaxies than higher activity AGNs, and L[OIII] providing a good indicator of the fueling rate. Using a model relating halo mass to black hole mass in cosmological simulations, we show that AGNs hosted by ~1012 M, dark matter halos have a 2PCF that matches that of the observed sample. This mass scale implies a mean black hole mass for the sample of MBH ~ 108 M.

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