Euclid preparation: XXXVIII. Spectroscopy of active galactic nuclei with NISP

Euclid Collaboration, A. Amara, S. Nadathur

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The statistical distribution and evolution of key properties (e.g. accretion rate, mass, or spin) of active galactic nuclei (AGN), remain an open debate in astrophysics. The ESA Euclid space mission, launched on July 1st 2023, promises a breakthrough in this field. We create detailed mock catalogues of AGN spectra, from the rest-frame near-infrared down to the ultraviolet, including emission lines, to simulate what Euclid will observe for both obscured (type 2) and unobscured (type 1) AGN. We concentrate on the red grisms of the NISP instrument, which will be used for the wide-field survey, opening a new window for spectroscopic AGN studies in the near-infrared. We quantify the efficiency in the redshift determination as well as in retrieving the emission line flux of the H$\alpha$+[NII] complex as Euclid is mainly focused on this emission line as it is expected to be the brightest one in the probed redshift range. Spectroscopic redshifts are measured for 83% of the simulated AGN in the interval where the H$\alpha$+[NII] is visible (0.892x10^{-16}$ erg s$^{-1}$ cm$^{-2}$, encompassing the peak of AGN activity at $z\simeq 1-1.5$) within the spectral coverage of the red grism. Outside this redshift range, the measurement efficiency decreases significantly. Overall, a spectroscopic redshift is correctly determined for ~90% of type 2 AGN down to an emission line flux of $3x10^{-16}$ erg s$^{-1}$ cm$^{-2}$, and for type 1 AGN down to $8.5x10^{-16}$ erg s$^{-1}$ cm$^{-2}$. Recovered black hole mass values show a small offset with respect to the input values ~10%, but the agreement is good overall. With such a high spectroscopic coverage at z
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA108
Number of pages30
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2024


  • astro-ph.GA
  • quasars: general
  • quasars: supermassive black holes
  • Galaxies: active

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