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Optical Properties of the Host Galaxies of Extragalactic Nuclear H2O Masers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  24 July 2012

Ingyin Zaw
Affiliation:
New York University Abu DhabiP.O. Box 129188, Abu Dhabi, UAE email: ingyin.zaw@nyu.edu Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics, New York University, 4 Washington Place, New York, NY 10003, USA
Guangtun Zhu
Affiliation:
Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics, New York University, 4 Washington Place, New York, NY 10003, USA
Michael Blanton
Affiliation:
Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics, New York University, 4 Washington Place, New York, NY 10003, USA
Lincoln J. Greenhill
Affiliation:
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics 60 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
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Abstract

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Although most nuclear 22GHz (λ=1.35 cm) H2O masers are in Seyfert 2 and LINER galaxies, only a small fraction of such galaxies host water masers. We systematically study the optical properties of the galaxies with and without nuclear H2O maser emission to better understand the relationship between H2O maser emission and properties of the central supermassive black hole and improve the detection rates in future surveys. To this end, we cross-matched the galaxies from H2O maser surveys, both detections and non-detections, with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) low-redshift galaxy sample. We find that maser detection rates are higher at higher optical luminosity (MB), larger velocity dispersion (σ), and higher ion [O III] λ5007 luminosity, with [O III] λ5007 being the dominant factor, and that the isotropic maser luminosity is correlated with these variables. These correlations are natural if maser emission depends on the host SMBH mass and AGN activity. We also find that the detection rate is higher for galaxies with higher extinction. These results indicate that, by pre-selecting galaxies with high extinction-corrected [O III] λ5007 flux, future maser surveys can increase detections efficiencies by a factor of ~3 to ~5.

Type
Contributed Papers
Copyright
Copyright © International Astronomical Union 2012

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