Type 1 agn at low z - III. the optical narrow-line ratios

Jonathan Stern, Ari Laor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present the optical narrow-line ratios in a Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) based sample of 3175 broad Hα selected type 1 active galactic nuclei (AGN), and explore their positions in the BPT diagrams as a function of the AGN and the host properties. We find the following: (1) the luminosities of all measured narrow lines (Hα, Hβ, [O iii], [N ii], [S ii], [O i]) show a Baldwin relation relative to the broad Hα luminosity LbHα, with slopes in the range of 0.53-0.72. (2) About 20 per cent of the type 1 AGN reside within the 'Composite' and 'star-forming' (SF) regions of the Baldwin, Phillips & Terlevich (BPT) diagrams. These objects also show excess narrow Hα and ultraviolet (UV) luminosities, for their LbHα, consistent with contribution from star formation which dominates the narrow-lines emission, as expected from their positions in the BPT diagrams. (3) The type 1 which reside within the AGN region in the BPT diagrams, are offset to lower [S ii]/Hα and [N ii]/Hα luminosity ratios, compared to type 2 AGN. This offset is a selection effect, related to the lower AGN/host luminosity selection of the type 2 AGN selected from the SDSS galaxy sample. (4) The [N II]/Hα and [N II]/[S II] ratios in type 1 AGN increase with the host mass, as expected if the mass-metallicity relation of quiescent galaxies holds for the AGN narrow-line region (NLR). (5) The broad lines optical Fe ii is higher for a higher [N ii]/Hα, at a fixed Lbol and Eddington ratio L/LEdd. This suggests that the broad line region metallicity is also related to the host mass. (6) The fraction of AGN which are low-ionization nuclear emission-line regions (LINERs) increases sharply with decreasing L/LEdd. This fraction is the same for type 1 and type 2 AGN. (7) The BPT position is unaffected by the amount of dust extinction of the optical-UV continuum, which suggests that the extincting dust resides on scales larger than the NLR.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)836-857
Number of pages22
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - 7 Mar 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Galaxies
  • Seyfert


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