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Local supermassive black holes and relics of active galactic nuclei

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 November 2004

Alessandro Marconi
Affiliation:
INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo Fermi 5, I-50125, Firenze, Italy email: marconi@arcetri.astro.it
Guido Risaliti
Affiliation:
INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo Fermi 5, I-50125, Firenze, Italy email: marconi@arcetri.astro.it Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Roberto Gilli
Affiliation:
INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo Fermi 5, I-50125, Firenze, Italy email: marconi@arcetri.astro.it
Leslie K. Hunt
Affiliation:
INAF-Istituto di Radioastronomia-Sez. Firenze, Largo Fermi 5, I-50125, Firenze, Italy
Roberto Maiolino
Affiliation:
INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo Fermi 5, I-50125, Firenze, Italy email: marconi@arcetri.astro.it
Marco Salvati
Affiliation:
INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo Fermi 5, I-50125, Firenze, Italy email: marconi@arcetri.astro.it
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Abstract

We quantify the importance of mass accretion during AGN phases in the growth of supermassive black holes (BH) by comparing the mass function of black holes in the local universe with that expected from AGN relics, which are black holes grown entirely with mass accretion during AGN phases. The local BH mass function (BHMF) is estimated by applying the well-known correlations between BH mass, bulge luminosity and stellar velocity dispersion to galaxy luminosity and velocity functions. The density of BHs in the local universe is $\rhoBH = 4.6_{-1.4}^{+1.9}\, h_{0.7}^2 \rhoBHunits$. The relic BHMF is derived from the continuity equation with the only assumption that AGN activity is due to accretion onto massive BHs and that merging is not important. We find that the relic BHMF at z = 0 is generated mainly at z<3. Moreover, the BH growth is anti-hierarchical in the sense that smaller BHs ($M_{BH}<10^{7}M_\odot$) grow at lower redshifts (z<1) with respect to more massive ones (z∼1−3). Unlike previous work, we find that the BHMF of AGN relics is perfectly consistent with the local BHMF indicating the local BHs were mainly grown during AGN activity. This agreement is obtained while satisfying, at the same time, the constraints imposed from the X-ray background. The comparison with the local BHMF also suggests that the merging process is not important in shaping the relic BHMF, at least at low redshifts (z<3). Our analysis thus suggests the following scenario: local black holes grew during AGN phases in which accreting matter was converted into radiation with efficiencies ε = 0.04−0.16 and emitted at a fraction λ = 0.1−1.7 and emitted at a fraction λ = 0.1−1.7 of the Eddington luminosity. The average total lifetime of these active phases ranges from $\simeq 4.5\times 10^{8}$ yr for $M_{BH}<10^{8}M_\odot$ to $\simeq 1.5\xten{8}$ yr for $M_{BH}>10^{9}M_\odot$.To search for other articles by the author(s) go to: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abstract_service.html

Type
ORAL CONTRIBUTIONS
Copyright
© 2004 International Astronomical Union

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