The Clustering of X-Ray Luminous Quasars

M. C. Powell, C. M. Urry, N. Cappelluti, J. T. Johnson, S. M. Lamassa, T. T. Ananna, K. E. Kollmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The clustering of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) sheds light on their typical large (Mpc-scale) environments, which can constrain the growth and evolution of supermassive black holes. Here we measure the clustering of luminous X-ray-selected AGNs in the Stripe 82X and XMM-XXL-north surveys around the peak epoch of black hole growth, in order to investigate the dependence of luminosity on large-scale AGN environment. We compute the auto-correlation function of AGNs in two luminosity bins, 1043 ≪ LX < 1044.5 erg s-1 at z ∼ 0.8 and L X ≥ 1044.5 erg s-1 at z ∼ 1.8, and calculate the AGN bias taking into account the redshift distribution of the sources using three different methods. Our results show that while the less luminous sample has an inferred typical halo mass that is smaller than for the more luminous AGNs, the host halo mass may be less dependent on luminosity than suggested in previous work. Focusing on the luminous sample, we calculate a typical host halo mass of ∼1013 M h-1, which is similar to previous measurements of moderate-luminosity X-ray AGNs and significantly larger than the values found for optical quasars of similar luminosities and redshifts. We suggest that the clustering differences between different AGN selection techniques are dominated by selection biases, and not due to a dependence on AGN luminosity. We discuss the limitations of inferring AGN triggering mechanisms from halo masses derived by large-scale bias.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number41
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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