Identification and Characterization of a Large Sample of Distant Active Dwarf Galaxies in XMM-SERVS

Fan Zou, W. N. Brandt, Qingling Ni, Shifu Zhu, David M. Alexander, Franz E. Bauer, Chien Ting J. Chen, Bin Luo, Mouyuan Sun, Cristian Vignali, Fabio Vito, Yongquan Xue, Wei Yan

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4 Scopus citations


Active dwarf galaxies are important because they contribute to the evolution of dwarf galaxies and can reveal their hosted massive black holes. However, the sample size of such sources beyond the local universe is still highly limited. In this work, we search for active dwarf galaxies in the recently completed XMM-Spitzer Extragalactic Representative Volume Survey (XMM-SERVS). XMM-SERVS is currently the largest medium-depth X-ray survey covering 13 deg2 in three extragalactic fields, which all have well-characterized multiwavelength information. After considering several factors that may lead to misidentifications, we identify 73 active dwarf galaxies at z < 1, which constitutes the currently largest X-ray-selected sample beyond the local universe. Our sources are generally less obscured than predictions based on the massive-AGN (active galactic nucleus) X-ray luminosity function and have a low radio-excess fraction. We find that our sources reside in environments similar to those of inactive dwarf galaxies. We further quantify the accretion distribution of the dwarf-galaxy population after considering various selection effects and find that it decreases with X-ray luminosity, but redshift evolution cannot be statistically confirmed. Depending on how we define an AGN, the active fraction may or may not show a strong dependence on stellar mass. Their Eddington ratios and X-ray bolometric corrections significantly deviate from the expected relation, which is likely caused by several large underlying systematic biases when estimating the relevant parameters for dwarf galaxies. Throughout this work, we also highlight problems in reliably measuring photometric redshifts and overcoming strong selection effects for distant active dwarf galaxies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number136
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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