Molecular gas in galaxies with X-ray selected active supermassive black holes

3 December 2020

Carbon monoxide is a key molecule for observations of the interstellar medium, as it is one of the better tracers of the cold molecular gas that is thought to eventually form new stars inside galaxies. We have recently completed a CO survey of galaxies that have actively growing supermassive black holes at their centers. A preprint of the accepted paper, “Molecular Gas in Nearby Hard X-ray Selected AGN Galaxies” (Koss +), was released in late October. This paper describes the findings that the molecular gas content of these galaxies are generally indistinguishable from the gas content of galaxies that do not have growing black holes, when galaxies are compared on the basis of their current star formation rates. This indicates that energy input from the black holes does not seem to be removing the “fuel” for future star formation. However, we did find that galaxies hosting active black holes tend to have higher fractions of their mass in gas, when compared to galaxies of similar stellar mass. The paper has been accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal.