Nuclear activity and star formation processes represent two key elements in the evolution of galaxies across the cosmic ages. In spite of very different physical backgrounds, several arguments suggest that they should be closely connected. On the basis of simple theoretical considerations, the transport of appreciable amounts of fuel to the AGN scale is very likely to trigger star formation in the gas. Young stellar populations, in their turn, are expected to affect the properties of the interstellar medium, leading to a complex balance of interactions among nuclear activity and star formation. This scenario is also supported by the observation of super-massive black holes and host galaxy properties, which strongly suggest a common evolutionary track. However, despite several years of extensive investigation, the relationship among the two processes still has to be properly explained. Here we provide a review of some of the most important observations, which are relevant to the issue of the connection among AGN and starburst events. Based on a wide sample of observations, we present an analysis of the spectral signatures connected with AGN and star formation activity. Expanding the concept of the distinction among star forming galaxies and the true active nuclei, we provide systematic evidence for a role of recent starburst events in the circum-nuclear regions of active galaxies and discuss the possibility of its influence onto the AGN environment. We also analyze the age, mass and metallicity properties of star-forming and active galaxies, illustrating that they are arranged in a sequence that is consistent with the identified relation.

The Starburst -- AGN Connection: a Critical Review

RAFANELLI, PIERO;LA MURA, GIOVANNI;BINDONI, DANIELE;CIROI, STEFANO;CRACCO, VALENTINA;DI MILLE, FRANCESCO;
2011

Abstract

Nuclear activity and star formation processes represent two key elements in the evolution of galaxies across the cosmic ages. In spite of very different physical backgrounds, several arguments suggest that they should be closely connected. On the basis of simple theoretical considerations, the transport of appreciable amounts of fuel to the AGN scale is very likely to trigger star formation in the gas. Young stellar populations, in their turn, are expected to affect the properties of the interstellar medium, leading to a complex balance of interactions among nuclear activity and star formation. This scenario is also supported by the observation of super-massive black holes and host galaxy properties, which strongly suggest a common evolutionary track. However, despite several years of extensive investigation, the relationship among the two processes still has to be properly explained. Here we provide a review of some of the most important observations, which are relevant to the issue of the connection among AGN and starburst events. Based on a wide sample of observations, we present an analysis of the spectral signatures connected with AGN and star formation activity. Expanding the concept of the distinction among star forming galaxies and the true active nuclei, we provide systematic evidence for a role of recent starburst events in the circum-nuclear regions of active galaxies and discuss the possibility of its influence onto the AGN environment. We also analyze the age, mass and metallicity properties of star-forming and active galaxies, illustrating that they are arranged in a sequence that is consistent with the identified relation.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11577/2485396
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