Massive star-forming host galaxies of quasars on sloan digital sky survey stripe 82

Yoshiki Matsuoka, Michael A. Strauss, Ted N. Price, Matthew S. Didonato

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46 Scopus citations


The stellar properties of about 800 galaxies hosting optically luminous, unobscured quasars at z < 0.6 are analyzed. Deep co-added Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) images of the quasars on Stripe 82 are decomposed into nucleus and host galaxy using point spread function and Sérsic models. The systematic errors in the measured galaxy absolute magnitudes and colors are estimated to be less than 0.5 mag and 0.1 mag, respectively, with simulated quasar images. The effect of quasar light scattered by the interstellar medium is also carefully addressed. The measured quasar-to-galaxy ratio in total flux decreases toward longer wavelengths, from ∼8 in the u band to ∼1 in the i and z bands. We find that the SDSS quasars are hosted exclusively by massive galaxies (stellar mass M star > 1010 M ), which is consistent with previous results for less luminous narrow-line (obscured) active galactic nuclei (AGNs). The quasar hosts are very blue and almost absent on the red sequence, showing stark contrast to the color-magnitude distribution of normal galaxies. The fact that more powerful AGNs reside in galaxies with higher star-formation efficiency may indicate that negative AGN feedback, if it exists, is not concurrent with the most luminous phase of AGNs. We also find positive correlation between the mass of supermassive black holes (SMBHs; M BH) and host stellar mass, but the M BH-M star relation is offset toward large M BH or small M star compared to the local relation. While this could indicate that SMBHs grow earlier than do their host galaxies, such an argument is not conclusive, as the effect may be dominated by observational biases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number162
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 10 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • galaxies: active
  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: nuclei
  • galaxies: stellar content
  • quasars: general
  • quasars: supermassive black holes


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