The Swift/BAT AGN Spectroscopic Survey. IX. the Clustering Environments of an Unbiased Sample of Local AGNs

M. C. Powell, N. Cappelluti, C. M. Urry, M. Koss, A. Finoguenov, C. Ricci, B. Trakhtenbrot, V. Allevato, M. Ajello, K. Oh, K. Schawinski, N. Secrest

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


We characterize the environments of local accreting supermassive black holes by measuring the clustering of AGNs in the Swift/BAT Spectroscopic Survey (BASS). With 548 AGN in the redshift range 0.01 < z < 0.1 over the full sky from the DR1 catalog, BASS provides the largest, least biased sample of local AGNs to date due to its hard X-ray selection (14-195 keV) and rich multiwavelength/ancillary data. By measuring the projected cross-correlation function between the AGN and 2MASS galaxies, and interpreting it via halo occupation distribution and subhalo-based models, we constrain the occupation statistics of the full sample, as well as in bins of absorbing column density and black hole mass. We find that AGNs tend to reside in galaxy group environments, in agreement with previous studies of AGNs throughout a large range of luminosity and redshift, and that on average they occupy their dark matter halos similar to inactive galaxies of comparable stellar mass. We also find evidence that obscured AGNs tend to reside in denser environments than unobscured AGNs, even when samples were matched in luminosity, redshift, stellar mass, and Eddington ratio. We show that this can be explained either by significantly different halo occupation distributions or statistically different host halo assembly histories. Lastly, we see that massive black holes are slightly more likely to reside in central galaxies than black holes of smaller mass.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 10 2018


  • galaxies: active
  • galaxies: halos

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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