A high fraction of double-peaked narrow emission lines in powerful active galactic nuclei

Yang Lyu, Xin Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


One percent of redshift z ~ 0.1 Active Galactic Nuclei (AGNs) show velocity splitting of a few hundred km s-1 in the narrow emission lines in spatially integrated spectra. Such line profiles have been found to arise from the bulk motion of ionized gas clouds associated with galactic-scale outflows, merging pairs of galaxies each harboring a su- permassive black hole (SMBH), and/or galactic-scale disk rotation. It remains unclear, however, how the frequency of narrow-line velocity splitting may depend on AGN lu- minosity. Here we study the correlation between the fraction of Type 2 AGNs with double-peaked narrow emission lines and AGN luminosity as indicated by [O III]λ5007 emission-line luminosity L[OIII]. We combine the sample of Liu et al. (2010a) at z ~ 0.1 with a new sample of 178 Type 2 AGNs with double-peaked [O III] emission lines at z ~ 0.5. We select the new sample from a parent sample of 2089 Type 2 AGNs from the SDSS-III/Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey. We find a statistically significant (~ 4.2σ) correlation between L[OIII] and the fraction of objects that exhibit double-peaked narrow emission lines among all Type 2 AGNs, corrected for selection bias and incompleteness due to [O III] line width, equivalent width, splitting velocity, and/or equivalent width ratio between the two velocity components. Our result sug- gests that galactic-scale outflows and/or merging pairs of SMBHs are more prevalent in more powerful AGNs, although spatially resolved follow up observations are needed to resolve the origin(s) for the narrow-line velocity splitting for individual AGNs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)24-36
Number of pages13
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 21 2016


  • Black hole physics
  • Galaxies: Seyfert
  • Galaxies: active
  • Galaxies: interactions
  • Galaxies: nuclei
  • Quasars: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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