Decoupled black hole accretion and quenching: the relationship between BHAR, SFR and quenching in Milky Way- and Andromeda-mass progenitors since z=2.5 Academic Article uri icon


  • 2018 The Author(s). We investigate the relationship between the black hole accretion rate (BHAR) and star formation rate (SFR) for Milky Way (MW) and Andromeda (M31)-mass progenitors from z = 0.2 to 2.5. We source galaxies from the Ks-band-selected ZFOURGE survey, which includes multiwavelength data spanning 0.3-160 m. We use decomposition software to split the observed spectral energy distributions (SEDs) of our galaxies into their active galactic nuclei (AGNs) and star-forming components, which allows us to estimate BHARs and SFRs from the infrared (IR). We perform tests to check the robustness of these estimates, including a comparison with BHARs and SFRs derived from X-ray stacking and far-IR analysis, respectively. We find that, as the progenitors evolve their relative black hole-galaxy growth (i.e. their BHAR/SFR ratio) increases from low to high redshift. The MW-mass progenitors exhibit a log-log slope of 0.64 0.11, while the M31-mass progenitors are 0.39 0.08. This result contrasts with previous studies that find an almost flat slope when adopting X-ray-/AGNselected or mass-limited samples and is likely due to their use of a broad mixture of galaxies with different evolutionary histories. Our use of progenitor-matched samples highlights the potential importance of carefully selecting progenitors when searching for evolutionary relationships between BHAR/SFRs. Additionally, our finding that BHAR/SFR ratios do not track the rate at which progenitors quench casts doubts over the idea that the suppression of star formation is predominantly driven by luminous AGN feedback (i.e. high BHARs).

published proceedings

  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

altmetric score

  • 25.08

author list (cited authors)

  • Cowley, M. J., Spitler, L. R., Quadri, R. F., Goulding, A. D., Papovich, C., Tran, K., ... Tomczak, A. R.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Cowley, MJ||Spitler, LR||Quadri, RF||Goulding, AD||Papovich, C||Tran, KVH||LabbĂ©, I||Alcorn, L||Allen, RJ||Forrest, B||Glazebrook, K||Kacprzak, GG||Morrison, G||Nanayakkara, T||Straatman, CMS||Tomczak, AR

publication date

  • October 2017