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Astron. Astrophys. 331, L1-L4 (1998)

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Letter to the Editor

Quasars and galaxy formation

Joseph Silk 1 and Martin J. Rees 2

1 Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, UK, Institut d'Astrophysique de Paris, France, and Departments of Astronomy and Physics, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
2 Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, UK

Received 9 October 1997 / Accepted 12 December 1997


The formation of massive black holes may precede the epoch that characterises the peak of galaxy formation, as characterized by the star formation history in luminous galaxies. Hence protogalactic star formation may be profoundly affected by quasar-like nuclei and their associated extensive energetic outflows. We derive a relation between the mass of the central supermassive black hole and that of the galaxy spheroidal component, and comment on other implications for galaxy formation scenarios.

Key words: galaxy formation: supermassive black holes – quasars: outflows

Send offprint requests to: J. Silk

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: February 16, 1998