Context. Sources at the brightest end of the quasi-stellar object (QSO) luminosity function, during the peak epoch in the history of star formation and black hole accretion (z ∼ 2-4, often referred to as "Cosmic noon") are privileged sites to study the cycle of feeding & feedback processes in massive galaxies. Aims: We aim to perform the first systematic study of cold gas properties in the most luminous QSOs, by characterising their host-galaxies and environment. These targets exhibit indeed widespread evidence of outflows at nuclear and galactic scales. Methods: We analyse ALMA, NOEMA and JVLA observations of the far-infrared continuum, CO and [CII] emission lines in eight QSOs (bolometric luminosity LBol ≳ 3 × 1047 erg s-1) from the WISE-SDSS selected hyper-luminous (WISSH) QSOs sample at z ∼ 2.4-4.7. Results: We report a 100% emission line detection rate and a 80% detection rate in continuum emission, and we find CO emission to be consistent with the steepest CO ladders observed so far. Sub-millimetre data reveal presence of (one or more) bright companion galaxies around ∼80% of WISSH QSOs, at projected distances of ∼6-130 kpc. We observe a variety of sizes for the molecular gas reservoirs (∼1.7-10 kpc), mostly associated with rotating disks with disturbed kinematics. WISSH QSOs typically show lower CO luminosity and higher star formation efficiency than infrared matched, z ∼ 0-3 main-sequence galaxies, implying that, given the observed SFR ∼170-1100 M⊙ yr-1, molecular gas is converted into stars in ≲50 Myr. Most targets show extreme dynamical to black-hole mass ratios Mdyn/MBH ∼ 3-10, two orders of magnitude smaller than local relations. The molecular gas fraction in the host-galaxies of WISSH is lower by a factor of ∼10-100 than in star forming galaxies with similar M*. Conclusions: Our analysis reveals that hyper-luminous QSOs at Cosmic noon undergo an intense growth phase of both the central super-massive black hole and of the host-galaxy. These systems pinpoint the high-density sites where giant galaxies assemble, where we show that mergers play a major role in the build-up of the final host-galaxy mass. We suggest that the observed low molecular gas fraction and short depletion timescale are due to AGN feedback, whose presence is indicated by fast AGN-driven ionised outflows in all our targets.

The WISSH quasars project. IX. Cold gas content and environment of luminous QSOs at z {ensuremath{sim}} 2.4-4.7

Brusa M.
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Mingozzi M.;
2021

Abstract

Context. Sources at the brightest end of the quasi-stellar object (QSO) luminosity function, during the peak epoch in the history of star formation and black hole accretion (z ∼ 2-4, often referred to as "Cosmic noon") are privileged sites to study the cycle of feeding & feedback processes in massive galaxies. Aims: We aim to perform the first systematic study of cold gas properties in the most luminous QSOs, by characterising their host-galaxies and environment. These targets exhibit indeed widespread evidence of outflows at nuclear and galactic scales. Methods: We analyse ALMA, NOEMA and JVLA observations of the far-infrared continuum, CO and [CII] emission lines in eight QSOs (bolometric luminosity LBol ≳ 3 × 1047 erg s-1) from the WISE-SDSS selected hyper-luminous (WISSH) QSOs sample at z ∼ 2.4-4.7. Results: We report a 100% emission line detection rate and a 80% detection rate in continuum emission, and we find CO emission to be consistent with the steepest CO ladders observed so far. Sub-millimetre data reveal presence of (one or more) bright companion galaxies around ∼80% of WISSH QSOs, at projected distances of ∼6-130 kpc. We observe a variety of sizes for the molecular gas reservoirs (∼1.7-10 kpc), mostly associated with rotating disks with disturbed kinematics. WISSH QSOs typically show lower CO luminosity and higher star formation efficiency than infrared matched, z ∼ 0-3 main-sequence galaxies, implying that, given the observed SFR ∼170-1100 M⊙ yr-1, molecular gas is converted into stars in ≲50 Myr. Most targets show extreme dynamical to black-hole mass ratios Mdyn/MBH ∼ 3-10, two orders of magnitude smaller than local relations. The molecular gas fraction in the host-galaxies of WISSH is lower by a factor of ∼10-100 than in star forming galaxies with similar M*. Conclusions: Our analysis reveals that hyper-luminous QSOs at Cosmic noon undergo an intense growth phase of both the central super-massive black hole and of the host-galaxy. These systems pinpoint the high-density sites where giant galaxies assemble, where we show that mergers play a major role in the build-up of the final host-galaxy mass. We suggest that the observed low molecular gas fraction and short depletion timescale are due to AGN feedback, whose presence is indicated by fast AGN-driven ionised outflows in all our targets.
Bischetti M., Feruglio C., Piconcelli E., Duras F., Perez-Torres M., Herrero R., Venturi G., Carniani S., Bruni G., Gavignaud I., Testa V., Bongiorno A., Brusa M., Circosta C., Cresci G., D'Odorico V., Maiolino R., Marconi A., Mingozzi M., Pappalardo C., Perna M., Traianou E., Travascio A., Vietri G., Zappacosta L., Fiore F.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11585/858674
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