The MOSDEF survey: AGN multi-wavelength identification, selection biases and host galaxy properties

Mojegan Azadi, Alison L. Coil, James Aird, Naveen Reddy, Alice Shapley, William R. Freeman, Mariska Kriek, Gene C. K. Leung, Bahram Mobasher, Sedona H. Price, Ryan L. Sanders, Irene Shivaei, Brian Siana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present results from the MOSFIRE Deep Evolution Field (MOSDEF) survey on the identification, selection biases, and host galaxy properties of 55 X-ray, IR, and optically selected active galactic nuclei (AGNs) at . We obtain rest-frame optical spectra of galaxies and AGNs and use the BPT diagram to identify optical AGNs. We examine the uniqueness and overlap of the AGNs identified at different wavelengths. There is a strong bias against identifying AGNs at any wavelength in low-mass galaxies, and an additional bias against identifying IR AGNs in the most massive galaxies. AGN hosts span a wide range of star formation rates (SFRs), similar to inactive galaxies once stellar mass selection effects are accounted for. However, we find (at ~2–3σ significance) that IR AGNs are in less dusty galaxies with relatively higher SFR and optical AGNs in dusty galaxies with relatively lower SFR. X-ray AGN selection does not display a bias with host galaxy SFR. These results are consistent with those from larger studies at lower redshifts. Within star-forming galaxies, once selection biases are accounted for, we find AGNs in galaxies with similar physical properties as inactive galaxies, with no evidence for AGN activity in particular types of galaxies. This is consistent with AGNs being fueled stochastically in any star-forming host galaxy. We do not detect a significant correlation between SFR and AGN luminosity for individual AGN hosts, which may indicate the timescale difference between the growth of galaxies and their supermassive black holes.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2017


  • astro-ph.GA


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