Co-evolution of massive black holes and their host galaxies at high redshift: discrepancies from six cosmological simulations and the key role of JWST

Melanie Habouzit*, Masafusa Onoue, Eduardo Banados, Marcel Neeleman, Daniel Angles-Alcazar, Fabian Walter, Annalisa Pillepich, Romeel Dave, Knud Jahnke, Yohan Dubois

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The James Webb Space Telescope will have the power to characterize high-redshift quasars at z>6 with an unprecedented depth and spatial resolution. While the brightest quasars at such redshift (i.e., with bolometric luminosity L_bol> 10^46 erg/s) provide us with key information on the most extreme objects in the Universe, measuring the black hole (BH) mass and Eddington ratios of fainter quasars with L_bol= 10^45-10^46 erg/s opens a path to understand the build-up of more normal BHs at z>6. In this paper, we show that the Illustris, TNG100, TNG300, Horizon-AGN, EAGLE, and SIMBA large-scale cosmological simulations do not agree on whether BHs at z>4 are overmassive or undermassive at fixed galaxy stellar mass with respect to the M_BH-M_star scaling relation at z=0 (BH mass offsets). Our conclusions are unchanged when using the local scaling relation produced by each simulation or empirical relations. We find that the BH mass offsets of the simulated faint quasar population at z>4, unlike those of bright quasars, represent the BH mass offsets of the entire BH population, for all the simulations. Thus, a population of faint quasars with L_bol= 10^45-10^46 erg/s observed by JWST can provide key constraints on the assembly of BHs at high redshift. Moreover, this will help constraining the high-redshift regime of cosmological simulations, including BH seeding, early growth, and co-evolution with the host galaxies. Our results also motivate the need for simulations of larger cosmological volumes down to z=6, with the same diversity of sub-grid physics, in order to gain statistics on the most extreme objects at high redshift.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3751-3767
Number of pages17
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume511
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jan 2022

Keywords

  • astro-ph.CO
  • astro-ph.GA

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