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Starburst-driven superwinds in quasar host galaxies

Starburst-driven superwinds in quasar host galaxies

Publication date: 01 July 2017

Authors: Barthel, P., Podigachoski, P., Wilkes, B., and Haas, M.

Journal: The Astrophysical Journal Letters
Volume: 843
Issue: 1
Page: L16
Year: 2017

Copyright: © 2017. The American Astronomical Society

During the past five decades astronomers have been puzzled by the presence of strong absorption features including metal lines, observed in the optical and ultraviolet spectra of quasars, signaling inflowing and outflowing gas winds with relative velocities up to several thousands of km s-1. In particular, the location of these winds–close to the quasar, further out in its host galaxy, or in its direct environment–and the possible impact on their surroundings have been issues of intense discussion and uncertainty. Using our Herschel Space Observatory data, we report a tendency for this so-called associated metal absorption to occur along with prodigious star formation in the quasar host galaxy, indicating that the two phenomena are likely to be interrelated, that the gas winds likely occur on the kiloparsec scale and would then have a strong impact on the interstellar medium of the galaxy. This correlation moreover would imply that the unusually high cold dust luminosities in these quasars are connected with ongoing star formation. Given that we find no correlation with the AGN strength, the wind feedback that we establish in these radio-loud objects is most likely associated with their host star formation rather than with their black hole accretion.

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