On the frequency of star-forming galaxies in the vicinity of powerful AGNs: The case of SMM J04135+10277
Journal article, 2017
Context. In the last decade several massive molecular gas reservoirs were found <100 kpc distance from active galactic nuclei (AGNs), residing in gas-rich companion galaxies. The study of AGN-gas-rich companion systems opens the opportunity to determine whether the stellar mass of massive local galaxies was formed in their host after a merger event or outside of their host galaxy in a close starbursting companion and later incorporated via mergers. Aims. Our aim is to study the quasar-companion galaxy system of SMM J04135+10277 (z = 2.84) and investigate the expected frequency of quasar-starburst galaxy pairs at high redshift using a cosmological galaxy formation model. Methods. We use archive data and new APEX ArTeMiS data to construct and model the spectral energy distribution of SMM J04135+10277 in order to determine its properties. We also carry out a comprehensive analysis of the cosmological galaxy formation model galform with the aim of characterising how typical the system of SMM J04135+10277 is and whether quasar-star-forming galaxy pairs may constitute an important stage in galaxy evolution. Finally, we compare our results to observations found in the literature at both large and small scales (1 Mpc-100 kpc). Results. The companion galaxy of SMM J04135+10277 is a heavily dust-obscured starburst galaxy with a median star formation rate (SFR) of 700 M yr-1, median dust mass of 5.1 × 109M and median dust luminosity of 9.3 × 1012L. Our simulations, performed at z = 2.8, suggest that SMM J04135+10277 is not unique. In fact, at a distance of <100 kpc, 22% of our simulated quasar sample have at least one companion galaxy of a stellar mass >108M, and 0.3% have at least one highly star-forming companion (SFR> 100 M yr-1). Conclusions. Our results suggest that quasar-gas-rich companion galaxy systems are common phenomena in the early Universe and the high incidence of companions makes the study of such systems crucial to understand the growth and hierarchical build-up of galaxies and black holes.
Quasars: individual: SMM J04135+10277