The relationship between the incidence of X-ray selected AGN in nearby galaxies and star-formation rate

Keir L. Birchall*, M. G. Watson, J. Aird, R. L. C. Starling

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

We present the identification and analysis of an X-ray selected AGN sample that lie within the local (z<0.35) galaxy population. From a parent sample of 22,079 MPA-JHU (based on SDSS DR8) galaxies, we identified 917 galaxies with central, excess X-ray emission (from 3XMM-DR7) likely originating from an AGN. We measured the host galaxies' star formation rates and classified them as either star-forming or quiescent based on their position relative to main sequence of star formation. Only 72% of the X-ray selected sample were identified as AGN using BPT selection; this technique is much less effective in quiescent hosts, only identifying 50% of the X-ray AGN. We also calculated the growth rates of the black holes powering these AGN in terms of their specific accretion rate (∝LX/M∗) and found quiescent galaxies, on average, accrete at a lower rate than star-forming galaxies. Finally, we measured the sensitivity function of 3XMM so we could correct for observational bias and construct probability distributions as a function of accretion rate. AGN were found in galaxies across the full range of star formation rates (log10SFR/M⊙ yr−1=−3 to 2) in both star-forming and quiescent galaxies. The incidence of AGN was enhanced by a factor 2 (at a 3.5σ significance) in star-forming galaxies compared to quiescent galaxies of equivalent stellar mass and redshift, but we also found a significant population of AGN hosted by quiescent galaxies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4756-4770
Number of pages15
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Early online date13 Jun 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2023

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • X-rays: galaxies
  • black hole physics
  • galaxies: active
  • galaxies: evolution


Dive into the research topics of 'The relationship between the incidence of X-ray selected AGN in nearby galaxies and star-formation rate'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this