Environments of dwarf galaxies with optical AGN characteristics

Mikkel T. Kristensen, Kevin Pimbblet, Samantha Penny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study aims to explore the relation between dwarf galaxies (M* ≤ 5 × 109 M⊙) with active galactic nuclei (AGNs) and their environment by comparing neighbourhood parameters of AGN and non-AGN samples. Using the NASA-Sloan Atlas, both the local environment and the immediate environment of dwarf galaxies with z ≤ 0.055 are analysed. Of the 145 155 galaxies in the catalogue, 62 258 of them are classified as dwarf galaxies, and by employing two AGN selection methods based on emission-line fluxes (BPT and WHAN), 4476 are found to have AGN characteristics in their optical spectra. Regardless of selection method, this study finds no discernible differences in environment between AGN and non-AGN host dwarf galaxies and these results indicate that environment is not an important factor in triggering AGN activity in dwarf galaxies. This is in line with existing literature on environments of regular galaxies with AGNs and suggests universality in terms of reaction to environment across the mass regime. The biases of AGN selection in low-mass galaxies, and the biases of different measures of environment are also considered. It is found that there are several mass trends in emission-line ratios and that the SDSS fibre covers galaxies non-uniformly with redshift. These biases should be accounted for in future work by possibly including other wavelength regimes or mass weighting of emission-line ratios. Lastly, a discussion of the environment estimation methods is included since they may not gauge the desired properties due to factors such as time delay or using loosely constrained proxy parameters.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2577–2590
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
Early online date17 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020


  • astro-ph.GA
  • RCUK
  • STFC
  • ST/R000840/1


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