The AGN Fraction in Dwarf Galaxies from eROSITA: First Results and Future Prospects

Thumbnail Image



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


American Astronomical Society


Determining the fraction of nearby dwarf galaxies hosting massive black holes (BHs) can inform our understanding of the origin of “seed” BHs at high redshift. Here we search for signatures of accreting massive BHs in a sample of dwarf galaxies (M ⋆ ≤ 3 × 109 M ⊙, z ≤ 0.15) selected from the NASA-Sloan Atlas (NSA) using X-ray observations from the eROSITA Final Equatorial Depth Survey (eFEDS). On average, our search is sensitive to active galactic nuclei (AGNs) in dwarf galaxies that are accreting at ≳1% of their Eddington luminosity. Of the ∼28,000 X-ray sources in eFEDS and the 495 dwarf galaxies in the NSA within the eFEDS footprint, we find six galaxies hosting possible active massive BHs. If the X-ray sources are indeed associated with the dwarf galaxies, the X-ray emission is above that expected from star formation, with X-ray source luminosities of L 0.5–8 keV ∼ 1039–40 erg s−1. Additionally, after accounting for chance alignments of background AGNs with dwarf galaxies, we estimate there are between zero and nine real associations between dwarf galaxies and X-ray sources in the eFEDS field at the 95% confidence level. From this we find an upper limit on the eFEDS-detected dwarf galaxy AGN fraction of ≤1.8%, which is broadly consistent with similar studies at other wavelengths. We extrapolate these findings from the eFEDS sky coverage to the planned eROSITA All-Sky Survey and estimate that upon completion, the all-sky survey could yield as many as ∼1350 AGN candidates in dwarf galaxies at low redshift.



AGN host galaxies, dwarf galaxies, X-ray active galactic nuclei


Latimer, C. J., Reines, A. E., Bogdan, A., & Kraft, R. (2021). The AGN fraction in dwarf galaxies from eROSITA: first results and future prospects. The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 922(2), L40.
Copyright (c) 2002-2022, LYRASIS. All rights reserved.