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High molecular gas content and star formation rates in local galaxies that host quasars, outflows and jets.

Jarvis, M.E. and Harrison, C.M. and Mainieri, V. and Rivera, G. Calistro and Jethwa, P. and Zhang, Z-Y. and Alexander, D.M. and Circosta, C. and Costa, T. and De Breuck, C. and Kakkad, D. and Kharb, P. and Lansbury, G.B. and Thomson, A.P. (2020) 'High molecular gas content and star formation rates in local galaxies that host quasars, outflows and jets.', Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society., 498 (2). pp. 1560-1575.


We use a sample of powerful z≈0.1 type 2 quasars (‘obscured’; log [LAGN/erg s−1]≳45), which host kiloparsec-scale ionized outflows and jets, to identify possible signatures of AGN feedback on the total molecular gas reservoirs of their host galaxies. Specifically, we present Atacama Pathfinder EXperiment (APEX) observations of the CO(2–1) transition for nine sources and the CO(6–5) for a subset of three. We find that the majority of our sample reside in starburst galaxies (average specific star formation rates of 1.7 Gyr−1), with the seven CO-detected quasars also having large molecular gas reservoirs (average Mgas=1.3× 1010 M⊙), even though we had no pre-selection on the star formation or molecular gas properties. Despite the presence of quasars and outflows, we find that the molecular gas fractions (Mgas/M⋆=0.1–1.2) and depletion times (Mgas/SFR=0.16–0.95 Gyr) are consistent with those expected for the overall galaxy population with matched stellar masses and specific star formation rates. Furthermore, for at least two of the three targets with the required measurements, the CO(6–5)/CO(2–1) emission-line ratios are consistent with star formation dominating the CO excitation over this range of transitions. The targets in our study represent a gas-rich phase of galaxy evolution with simultaneously high levels of star formation and nuclear activity; furthermore, the jets and outflows do not have an immediate appreciable impact on the global molecular gas reservoirs.

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Publisher statement:This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. ©: 2020 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Date accepted:17 July 2020
Date deposited:18 September 2020
Date of first online publication:09 September 2020
Date first made open access:18 September 2020

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