Cosmic X-ray surveys of distant active galaxies: The demographics, physics, and ecology of growing supermassive black holes

W. N. Brandt, D. M. Alexander

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

161 Scopus citations

Abstract

We review results from cosmic X-ray surveys of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) over the past $$\approx 15$$≈15 years that have dramatically improved our understanding of growing supermassive black holes in the distant universe. First, we discuss the utility of such surveys for AGN investigations and the capabilities of the missions making these surveys, emphasizing Chandra, XMM-Newton, and NuSTAR. Second, we briefly describe the main cosmic X-ray surveys, the essential roles of complementary multiwavelength data, and how AGNs are selected from these surveys. We then review key results from these surveys on the AGN population and its evolution (“demographics”), the physical processes operating in AGNs (“physics”), and the interactions between AGNs and their environments (“ecology”). We conclude by describing some significant unresolved questions and prospects for advancing the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics Review
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 30 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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