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Feeding and feedback from little monsters: AGN in dwarf galaxies

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  29 March 2021

Mar Mezcua*
Institute of Space Sciences (ICE, CSIC), Campus UAB, Carrer de Magrans, 08193 Barcelona, Spain email: Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC), Carrer Gran Capità, 08034 Barcelona, Spain
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Detecting the seed black holes from which quasars formed is extremely challenging; however, those seeds that did not grow into supermassive should be found as intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs) of 100 – 105 M in local dwarf galaxies. The use of deep multiwavelength surveys has revealed that a population of actively accreting IMBHs (low-mass AGN) exists in dwarf galaxies at least out to z ˜3. The black hole occupation fraction of these galaxies suggests that the early Universe seed black holes formed from direct collapse of gas, which is reinforced by the possible flattening of the black hole-galaxy scaling relations at the low-mass end. This scenario is however challenged by the finding that AGN feedback can have a strong impact on dwarf galaxies, which implies that low-mass AGN in dwarf galaxies might not be the untouched relics of the early seed black holes. This has important implications for seed black hole formation models.

Contributed Papers
© The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of International Astronomical Union


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