AGN and star formation at cosmic noon: Comparison of data to theoretical models

Jonathan Florez, Shardha Jogee, Yuchen Guo, Sofía A. Cora, Rainer Weinberger, Romeel Davé, Lars Hernquist, Mark Vogelsberger, Robin Ciardullo, Steven L. Finkelstein, Caryl Gronwall, Lalitwadee Kawinwanichakij, Gene C.K. Leung, Stephanie Lamassa, Casey Papovich, Matthew L. Stevans, Isak Wold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In theoretical models of galaxy evolution, active galactic nucleus (AGN) and star formation (SF) activity are closely linked and AGN feedback is routinely invoked to regulate galaxy growth. In order to constrain such models, we compare the hydrodynamical simulations IllustrisTNG and SIMBA, and the semi-Analytical model SAG to the empirical results on AGN and SF at cosmic noon (0.75 < z < 2.25) reported in Florez et al. (2020). The empirical results are based on a large mass-complete sample drawn from 93 307 galaxies with and without high X-ray luminosity AGN (LX â 1044 erg s-1), selected from a 11.8 deg2 area (∼0.18 Gpc3 comoving volume at z = 0.75-2.25). The main results of our comparisons are: (i) SAG and IllustrisTNG both qualitatively reproduce the empirical result that galaxies with high X-ray luminosity AGN have higher mean SFR, at a given stellar mass, than galaxies without such AGN. SAG, however, strongly overproduces the number density of high X-ray luminosity AGN by a factor of 10-100, while IllustrisTNG shows a lack of high X-ray luminosity AGN at high stellar mass ($M∗ \gt 10^{11} \, \mathrm{M}-{\odot }$) at z ∼2. (ii) In SIMBA, the mean SFR of galaxies with high X-ray luminosity AGN is lower than the SFR of galaxies without such AGN. Contrary to the data, many high X-ray luminosity AGN in SIMBA have quenched SF, suggesting that AGN feedback, or other feedback modes in galaxies with such AGN, might be too efficient in SIMBA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)762-780
Number of pages19
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 1 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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