James Webb Space Telescope Feed Post

Date: 2/11/2024

IOP Science: Active Galactic Nuclei and Host Galaxies in COSMOS-Web. I. NIRCam Images, Point-spread-function Models and Initial Results on X-Ray-selected Broad-line AGNs at 0.35 ≲ z ≲ 3.5

Paper abstract: We present detailed and comprehensive data reduction and point-spread-function (PSF) model construction for all public JWST NIRCam imaging data from the COSMOS-Web treasury program (up to 2023 June, totaling 0.28 deg2). We show that the NIRCam PSF has significant short-timescale temporal variations and random spatial variations in all four filters (F115W, F150W, F277W, and F444W). Combining NIRCam with archival Hubble Space Telescope imaging, we perform multiwavelength active galactic nucleus (AGN)+host image decomposition to study the properties of 143 X-ray-selected (Lbol = 1043.6–47.2 erg s-1) broad-line AGNs at 0.35 ? z ? 3.5. Leveraging the superb resolution, wavelength coverage, and sensitivity of NIRCam, we successfully detect host stellar emission after decomposing the central AGN point source in 142 objects. ~2/3 AGNs are in star-forming galaxies based on the UVJ diagram, suggesting that there is no instantaneous negative AGN feedback. X-ray-selected broad-line AGN hosts follow a similar stellar mass–size relation as inactive galaxies, albeit with slightly smaller galaxy sizes. We find that although major mergers are rare (~7%–22%) among the sample, more subtle nonaxisymmetric features from stellar bars, spiral arms, and minor mergers are ubiquitous, highlighting the importance of secular processes and minor mergers in triggering AGN activity. For a subsample of 30 AGNs at 1 < z < 2.5 with black hole mass measurements from single epoch spectra, they follow a similar black hole mass-stellar mass relation as local inactive early-type galaxies but reside preferentially near the upper envelope of nearby AGNs. We caution that selection biases and the intrinsic differences of AGN populations at different redshifts may significantly affect their location on the black hole mass-stellar mass plane.