The role of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) during galaxy interactions and how they influence the star formation in the system are still under debate. Recently, a research team led by the Chinese Academy of Sciences South America Center for Astronomy (CASSACA) used the integral field unit (IFU) data to study the star-formation distributions of a paired active galactic nuclei (AGN) sample. They found that AGNs are likely follow an inside-out quenching and the merger impact on the star formation in AGNs is less prominent than in star-forming galaxies (SFGs).
This pair sample of 1156 IFU-covered galaxies were selected by the velocity offset, projected separation, and morphology from SDSS IV-MaNGA survey, and is further classified into four cases along the merger sequence based on morphological signatures. A total of 61 (5.5%) AGNs in pairs were identified based on the emission-line diagnostics. No evolution of the AGN fraction was found, either along the merger sequence or compared to isolated galaxies (5.0%). There was a higher fraction of passive galaxies in galaxy pairs, especially in the pre-merging cases, which was related to a denser environment. The isolated AGN and AGNs in pairs showed similar distributions in their global stellar mass, star-formation rate (SFR), and central [O iii] surface brightness. AGNs in pairs showed radial profiles of increasing specific SFR and declining Dn4000 from center to outskirts, and no significant difference from the isolated AGNs. This was clearly different from SFGs in this pair sample, which showed enhanced central star formation, as reported before. AGNs in pairs had lower Balmer decrements at outer regions, possibly indicating less dust attenuation.
The research paper is recently published in The Astrophysical Journal (https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/ac2901). CASSACA student Gaoxiang Jin and Prof. Y. Sophia Dai are the first author and the corresponding author, respectively.