Research report 2018 - Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics
Finding needles in a haystack
Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik, Garching
SummaryPrevious studies of large AGN samples both a low and at high redshifts seemed to rule out galaxy mergers as the drivers for black hole growth. A new technique developed at MPA for selecting a rare type of active galactic nuclei now show that it is possible to identify a new class of AGN in which more than 80% of the galaxies turn out to be merging or interacting systems, with clear indications of an accreting black hole. A detailed statistical analysis then reveals that mergers drive black hole formation in the most massive galaxies in the local Universe.