Obscured AGN at 1.5 < z < 3.0 from the zCOSMOS-deep Survey . I. Properties of the emitting gas in the narrow-line region

Publication date: 
Main author: 
Mignoli, M.
IAA authors: 
Pérez Montero, E.
Mignoli, M.;Feltre, A.;Bongiorno, A.;Calura, F.;Gilli, R.;Vignali, C.;Zamorani, G.;Lilly, S. J.;Le Fèvre, O.;Bardelli, S.;Bolzonella, M.;Bordoloi, R.;Le Brun, V.;Caputi, K. I.;Cimatti, A.;Diener, C.;Garilli, B.;Koekemoer, A. M.;Maier, C.;Mainieri, V.;Peng, Y.;Pérez Montero, E.;Silverman, J. D.;Zucca, E.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
Publication type: 
Context. The physics and demographics of high-redshift obscured active galactic nuclei (AGN) is still scarcely investigated. New samples of such objects, selected with different techniques, can provide useful insights into their physical properties. <BR /> Aims: With the goal to determine the properties of the gas in the emitting region of type 2 AGN, in particular, the gas metal content, we exploit predictions from photoionization models, including new parameterizations for the distance of gas distribution from the central source and internal microturbulence in the emitting clouds, to interpret rest-frame UV spectral data. <BR /> Methods: We selected a sample of 90 obscured (type 2) AGN with 1.45 ≤ z ≤ 3.05 from the zCOSMOS-deep galaxy sample by 5σ detection of the high-ionization C IV λ1549 narrow emission line. This feature in a galaxy spectrum is often associated with nuclear activity, and the selection effectiveness has also been confirmed by diagnostic diagrams based on utraviolet (UV) emission-line ratios. We applied the same selection technique and collected a sample of 102 unobscured (type 1) AGN. Taking advantage of the large amount of multiband data available in the COSMOS field, we investigated the properties of the C IV-selected type 2 AGN, focusing on their host galaxies, X-ray emission, and UV emission lines. Finally, we investigated the physical properties of the ionized gas in the narrow-line region (NLR) of this type 2 AGN sample by combining the analysis of strong UV emission lines with predictions from photoionization models. <BR /> Results: We find that in order to successfully reproduce the relative intensity of UV emission lines of the selected high-z type 2 AGN, two new ingredients in the photoionization models are fundamental: small inner radii of the NLR (≈90 pc for L<SUB>AGN</SUB> = 10<SUP>45</SUP> erg s<SUP>-1</SUP>), and the internal dissipative microturbulence of the gas-emitting clouds (with v<SUB>micr</SUB> ≈ 100 km s<SUP>-1</SUP>). With these modified models, we compute the gas-phase metallicity of the NLR, and our measurements indicate a statistically significant evolution of the metal content with redshift. Finally, we do not observe a strong relationship between the NLR gas metallicity and the stellar mass of the host galaxy in our C IV-selected type 2 AGN sample. The type 2 AGN catalog is only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to <A href='http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/'>http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr</A> ( or via <A href='http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/626/A9'>http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/626/A9</A>
ADS Bibcode: 
galaxies: active;galaxies: fundamental parameters;galaxies: evolution;quasars: emission lines;X-rays: galaxies;line: formation;Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies