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Comparing simple quasar demographics models

  • Author(s): Veale, M
  • White, M
  • Conroy, C
  • et al.

© 2014 The Authors. This paper explores several simple model variations for the connections among quasars, galaxies, and dark matter haloes for redshifts 1 < z < 6. A key component of these models is that we enforce a self-consistent black hole (BH) history by tracking both BH mass and BH growth rate at all redshifts. We connect objects across redshift with a simple constantnumber- density procedure, and choose a fiducial model with a relationship between BH and galaxy growth rates that is linear and evolves in a simple way with redshift. Within this fiducial model, we find the quasar luminosity function (QLF) by calculating an 'intrinsic' luminosity based on either the BH mass or BH growth rate, and then choosing a model of quasar variability with either a lognormal or truncated power-law distribution of instantaneous luminosities. This gives four model variations, which we fit to the observed QLF at each redshift. With the best-fitting models in hand, we undertake a detailed comparison of the four fiducial models, and explore changes to our fiducial model of the BH-galaxy relationship. Each model variation can successfully fit the observed QLF, the shape of which is generally set by the 'intrinsic' luminosity at the faint end and by the scatter due to variability at the bright end.We focus on accounting for the reasons why physically different models can make such similar predictions, and on identifying what observational data or physical arguments are most essential in breaking the degeneracies among models.

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