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Discovery and origins of giant optical nebulae surrounding quasar PKS0454-22

Presentation #342.18 in the session “Galaxy Evolution & Populations”.

Published onJan 11, 2021
Discovery and origins of giant optical nebulae surrounding quasar PKS0454-22

We report optical integral-field spectroscopy in the field of one of the most luminous quasars in the z < 1 Universe, PKS0454-22, with the Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer. These data enable the discovery of three large ionized nebulae emitting in [OII], Hbeta, and [OIII] with projected areas of 3100, 3200, and 400 pkpc2, which we refer to as N1, N2, and N3 respectively. N1 spatially and kinematically surrounds the quasar host and four nearby galaxies. The morphology and kinematics of N1 are most consistent with stripped interstellar medium resulting from ongoing interactions. Its ionization properties can be explained by quasar photoionization. N2 spatially and kinematically surrounds two galaxies which are at projected distances of 90 pkpc and line-of-sight velocities of +1410 km/s from the quasar. The morphology and kinematics of N2 are also consistent with stripped interstellar medium. However, its ionization state requires additional ionization sources beyond the quasar, likely from fast shocks as it moves through the hot halo of the quasar host group. N3 is not coincident with any galaxies with secure redshifts, and may arise from a cool gas structure in the intragroup medium or a dwarf galaxy. These large ionized nebulae support interaction related quasar fueling, with interactions that drive large quantities of interstellar medium to the circumgalactic medium, producing cool gas structures on halo scales. The growing availability of wide-area integral field spectroscopic data will continue to reveal the morphologies, kinematics, and conditions of the gas flows which may fuel galaxy and black hole growth.


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