Journal Article

Supermassive black holes and their environments

Jörg M. Colberg and Tiziana Di Matteo

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 387, issue 3, pages 1163-1178
Published in print July 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online May 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Supermassive black holes and their environments

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We make use of the first high-resolution hydrodynamic simulations of structure formation which self-consistently follows the build-up of supermassive black holes (BHs) introduced in Di Matteo et al. to investigate the relation between BHs, host halo and large-scale environment. There are well-defined relations between halo and BH masses and between the activities of galactic nuclei and halo masses at low redshifts. A large fraction of BHs forms anti-hierarchically, with a higher ratio of BH to halo mass at high than at low redshifts. At z= 1, we predict group environments (regions of enhanced local density) to contain the highest mass and most active (albeit with a large scatter) BHs while the rest of the BH population to be spread over all densities from groups to filaments and voids. Density dependencies are more pronounced at high rather than low redshift. These results are consistent with the idea that gas rich mergers are likely the main regulator of quasar activity. We find star formation to be a somewhat stronger and tighter function of local density than BH activity, indicating some difference in the triggering of the latter versus the former. There exist a large number of low-mass BHs, growing slowly predominantly through accretion, which extends all the way into the most underdense regions, that is, in voids.

Keywords: methods: N-body simulations; cosmology: theory; dark matter; large-scale structure of Universe

Journal Article.  11949 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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