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  The rocky road to quiescence: compaction and quenching of quasar host galaxies at z ∼ 2

Stacey, H. R., McKean, J. P., Powell, D., Vegetti, S., Rizzo, F., Spingola, C., et al. (2020). The rocky road to quiescence: compaction and quenching of quasar host galaxies at z ∼ 2. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 500(3), 3667-3688. doi:10.1093/mnras/staa3433.

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Stacey, H. R.1, Author              
McKean, J. P., Author
Powell, D.1, Author              
Vegetti, S.1, Author              
Rizzo, F.1, Author              
Spingola, C., Author
Auger, M. W., Author
Ivison, R. J., Author
van der Werf, P. P., Author
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1Computational Structure Formation, MPI for Astrophysics, Max Planck Society, ou_2205642              

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 Abstract: We resolve the host galaxies of seven gravitationally lensed quasars at redshift 1.5–2.8 using observations with the Atacama Large (sub)Millimetre Array. Using a visibility plane lens modelling technique, we create pixellated reconstructions of the dust morphology, and CO line morphology and kinematics. We find that the quasar hosts in our sample can be distinguished into two types: (1) galaxies characterized by clumpy, extended dust distributions (Reff ∼ 2 kpc) and mean star formation rate (SFR) surface densities comparable to sub-mm-selected dusty star-forming galaxies (ΣSFR ∼ 3  M yr−1 kpc−2 ) and (2) galaxies that have sizes in dust emission similar to coeval passive galaxies and compact starbursts (Reff ∼ 0.5 kpc), with high mean SFR surface   densities (ΣSFR = 400–4500  M yr−1 kpc−2 ) that may be Eddington-limited or super-Eddington. The small sizes of some quasar hosts suggest that we observe them at a stage in their transformation into compact spheroids via dissipative contraction, where a high density of dynamically unstable gas leads to efficient star formation and black hole accretion. For the one system where we probe the bulk of the gas reservoir, we find a gas fraction of just 0.06 ± 0.04 and a depletion time-scale of 50 ± 40 Myr, suggesting it is transitioning into quiescence. In general, we expect that the extreme level of star formation in the compact quasar host galaxies will rapidly exhaust their gas reservoirs and could quench with or without help from active galactic nucleus feedback.

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 Dates: 2020-11-05
 Publication Status: Published online
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 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1093/mnras/staa3433
Other: LOCALID: 3291194
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Title: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  Other : Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc.
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Oxford : Oxford University Press
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 500 (3) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 3667 - 3688 Identifier: ISSN: 1365-8711
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/1000000000024150