Evidence for Wide-spread Active Galactic Nucleus-driven Outflows in the Most Massive z 1-2 Star-forming Galaxies

R. Genzel, N. M. Förster Schreiber, D. Rosario, P. Lang, D. Lutz, E. Wisnioski, E. Wuyts, S. Wuyts, K. Bandara, R. Bender, S. Berta, J. Kurk, J. T. Mendel, L. J. Tacconi, D. Wilman, A. Beifiori, G. Brammer, A. Burkert, P. Buschkamp, J. ChanC. M. Carollo, R. Davies, F. Eisenhauer, M. Fabricius, M. Fossati, M. Kriek, S. Kulkarni, S. J. Lilly, C. Mancini, I. Momcheva, T. Naab, E. J. Nelson, A. Renzini, R. Saglia, R. M. Sharples, A. Sternberg, S. Tacchella, P. van Dokkum

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In this paper, we follow up on our previous detection of nuclear ionized outflows in the most massive (log(M */M ☉) ≥ 10.9) z ~ 1-3 star-forming galaxies by increasing the sample size by a factor of six (to 44 galaxies above log(M */M ☉) ≥ 10.9) from a combination of the SINS/zC-SINF, LUCI, GNIRS, and KMOS3Dspectroscopic surveys. We find a fairly sharp onset of the incidence of broad nuclear emission (FWHM in the Hα, [N II], and [S II] lines ~450-5300 km s–1), with large [N II]/Hα ratios, above log(M */M ☉) ~ 10.9, with about two-thirds of the galaxies in this mass range exhibiting this component. Broad nuclear components near and above the Schechter mass are similarly prevalent above and below the main sequence of star-forming galaxies, and at z ~ 1 and ~2. The line ratios of the nuclear component are fit by excitation from active galactic nuclei (AGNs), or by a combination of shocks and photoionization. The incidence of the most massive galaxies with broad nuclear components is at least as large as that of AGNs identified by X-ray, optical, infrared, or radio indicators. The mass loading of the nuclear outflows is near unity. Our findings provide compelling evidence for powerful, high-duty cycle, AGN-driven outflows near the Schechter mass, and acting across the peak of cosmic galaxy formation.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages7
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Early online date29 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2014


  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • galaxies: kinematics and dynamics
  • infrared: galaxies


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