The black hole-star formation connection over cosmic time

Chandra B. Singh*, Nelitha Kulasiri, Max North, David Garofalo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Observations at low redshift have begun to tease out the star formation rate in active galaxies (AGN), which marks the beginning of the black hole-star formation connection over cosmic time. Star formation appears to depend on AGN type, cluster richness, and black hole accretion, but in ways that are not direct and have yet to be understood. Much of the confusion is that while some AGN appear to enhance star formation, others seem to suppress it. By implementing simplified, yet informed assumptions about AGN feedback on star formation, we show how AGN with jets might be dominated by two phases in which star formation is first enhanced, then suppressed. With this new element incorporated into our model, we make sense of radio and quasar mode behavior in the star formation rate–stellar mass (SFR-SM) plane for AGN. Due to jet feedback on star formation, jetted AGN tends to move upwards and rightward in the SFR-SM plane and then downward and to the right, past both the star-forming main sequence as well as the radio-quiet AGN. This picture allows us to predict the black hole connection to star formation as a function of the environment over the history of the universe. Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: Star formation (1569); Active galactic nuclei (16); Radio active galactic nuclei (2134).

Original languageEnglish
Article number104101
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Issue number1028
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


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