The Spitzer discovery of a galaxy with infrared emission solely due to AGN activity

Hony, S., Kemper, F., Woods, P. M., van Loon, J. Th., Gorjian, V., Madden, S. C., Zijlstra, A. A., Gordon, K. D., Indebetouw, R., Marengo, M., Meixner, M., Panuzzo, P., Shiao, B., Sloan, G. C., Roman-Duval, J., Mullaney, J., & Tielens, A. G. G. M.
2011, Astronomy & Astrophysics, 531, 137


Aims: We present an analysis of a galaxy (SAGE1CJ053634.78-722658.5) at a redshift of 0.14 of which the infrared (IR) emission is entirely dominated by emission associated with the active galactic nucleus. Methods: We present the 5-37 μm Spitzer/IRS spectrum and broad wavelength spectral energy distribution (SED) of SAGE1CJ053634.78-722658.5, an IR point-source detected by Spitzer/SAGE. The source was observed in the SAGE-Spec program and was included to determine the nature of sources with deviant IR colours. The spectrum shows a redshifted (z = 0.14 ± 0.005) silicate emission feature with an exceptionally high feature-to-continuum ratio and weak polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) emission bands. We compare the source with models of emission from dusty tori around AGNs. We present a diagnostic diagram that will help to identify similar sources based on Spitzer/MIPS and Herschel/PACS photometry. Results: The SED of SAGE1CJ053634.78-722658.5 is peculiar because it lacks far-IR emissiondue to cold dust and a clear stellar counterpart. We find that the SED and the IR spectrum can be understood as emission originating from the inner ~10 pc around an accreting black hole. There is no need to invoke emission from the host galaxy, either from the stars or from the interstellar medium, although a possible early-type host galaxy cannot be excluded based on the SED analysis. The hot dust around the accretion disk gives rise to a continuum, which peaks at 4 μm, whereas the strong silicate features may arise from optically thin emission of dusty clouds within ~10 pc around the black hole. The weak PAH emission does not appear to be linked to star formation, as star formation templates strongly over-predict the measured far-IR flux levels. Conclusions: The SED of SAGE1CJ053634.78-722658.5 is rare in the local universe but may be more common in the more distant universe. The conspicuous absence of host-galaxy IR emission places limits on the far-IR emission arising from the dusty torus alone. Based on observations obtained with Spitzer.

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Copyright © 2012 Karl D. Gordon All Rights Reserved