Observational evidence of quasar feedback quenching star formation at high redshift

M. Cano-Díaz*, R. Maiolino, A. Marconi, H. Netzer, O. Shemmer, G. Cresci

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Most galaxy evolutionary models require quasar feedback to regulate star formation in their host galaxies. In particular, at high redshift, models expect that feedback associated with quasar-driven outflows is so efficient that the gas in the host galaxy is largely swept away or heated up, hence suppressing star formation in massive galaxies. We observationally investigate this phenomenon by using VLT-SINFONI integral field spectroscopy of the luminous quasar 2QZJ002830.4-281706 at z = 2.4. The spectra sample the optical emission lines redshifted into the near-IR. The [OIII] γ5007 emission-line kinematics map reveals a massive outflow on scales of several kpc. The detection of narrow Hα emission reveals star formation in the quasar host galaxy, with SFR ∼ 100 M⊙ yr -1. However, the star formation is not distributed uniformly, but is strongly suppressed in the region with the highest outflow velocity and highest velocity dispersion. This result indicates that star formation in this region is strongly quenched by the quasar outflow, which is cleaning the galaxy disk of its molecular gas. This is one of the first direct observational proofs of quasar feedback quenching the star formation at high redshift.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL8
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
StatePublished - 2012


  • galaxies: evolution
  • galaxies: formation
  • galaxies: high-redshift
  • quasars: emission lines


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