Submillimeter Evidence for the Coeval Growth of Massive Black Holes and Galaxy Bulges

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Science  21 Dec 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5551, pp. 2516-2518
DOI: 10.1126/science.1065880

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The correlation, found in nearby galaxies, between black hole mass and stellar bulge mass implies that the formation of these two components must be related. Here we report submillimeter photometry of eight x-ray–absorbed active galactic nuclei that have luminosities and redshifts characteristic of the sources that produce the bulk of the accretion luminosity in the universe. The four sources with the highest redshifts are detected at 850 micrometers, with flux densities between 5.9 and 10.1 millijanskies, and hence are ultraluminous infrared galaxies. If the emission is from dust heated by starbursts, then the majority of stars in spheroids were formed at the same time as their central black holes built up most of their mass by accretion. This would account for the observed demography of massive black holes in the local universe. The skewed rate of submillimeter detection with redshift is consistent with a high redshift epoch of star formation in radio-quiet active galactic nuclei, similar to that seen in radio galaxies.

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