The EDGE-CALIFA survey: Central molecular gas depletion in AGN host galaxies - A smoking gun for quenching?

Sara L. Ellison, Tony Wong, Sebastian F. Sánchez, Dario Colombo, Alberto Bolatto, Jorge Barrera-Ballesteros, Rubén García-Benito, Veselina Kalinova, Yufeng Luo, Monica Rubio, Stuart N. Vogel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Feedback from an active galactic nucleus (AGN) is often implicated as a mechanism that leads to the quenching of galactic star formation. However, AGN-driven quenching is challenging to reconcile with observations that AGN hosts tend to harbour equal (or even excess) amounts of gas compared with inactive galaxies of similar stellar mass. In this paper, we investigate whether AGN feedback happens on sub-galactic (kpc) scales, an effect that might be difficult to detect with global gas measurements. Using kpc-scale measurements of molecular gas (ΣH2) and stellar mass (Σ∗) surface densities, taken from the Extragalactic Data base for Galaxy Evolution-Calar Alto Legacy Integral Field Area survey, we show that the gas fractions of central AGN regions are typically a factor of ∼2 lower than those in star-forming regions. Based on four galaxies with the best spaxel statistics, the difference between AGN and star-forming gas fractions is seen even within a given galaxy, indicating that AGN feedback is able to deplete the molecular gas reservoir in the central few kpc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L46-L51
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1 2021


  • Galaxies: ISM
  • Galaxies: active
  • Galaxies: evolution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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