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Astron. Astrophys. 353, 25-40 (2000)

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Soft X-ray AGN luminosity function from ROSAT surveys

I. Cosmological evolution and contribution to the soft X-ray background

Takamitsu Miyaji 1,2, Günther Hasinger 2 and Maarten Schmidt 3

1 Max-Planck-Inst. für Extraterrestrische Physik, Postfach 1603, 85740, Garching, Germany
2 Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam, An der Sternwarte 16, 14482 Potsdam, Germany (ghasinger@aip.de)
3 California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA (mxs@deimos.caltech.edu)

Received 3 June 1999 / Accepted 20 October 1999


We investigate the evolution of the 0.5-2 keV soft X-ray luminosity function (SXLF) of active galactic nuclei (AGN) using results from ROSAT surveys of various depth. The large dynamic range of the combined sample, from shallow large-area ROSAT All-Sky Survey (RASS)-based samples to the deepest pointed observation on the Lockman Hole, enabled us to trace the behavior of the SXLF. The combined sample includes about 690 AGNs. As previously found, the SXLF evolves rapidly as a function of redshift up to [FORMULA] and is consistent with remaining constant beyond this redshift.

We have tried to find a simple analytical description of the SXLF in the overall redshift and luminosity range, using Maximum-Likelihood fits and Kolgomorov-Smirnov tests. We found that a form of the Luminosity-Dependent Density Evolution (LDDE), rather than the classical Pure Luminosity Evolution (PLE) or the Pure Density Evolution (PDE) models, gives an excellent fit to the data. Extrapolating one form of the LDDE model (LDDE1) explains [FORMULA] of the estimated soft extragalactic Cosmic X-ray Background (CXRB). We have also found another representation (LDDE2), which produces [FORMULA] of the CXRB and still gives an excellent fit to the sample AGNs. These two versions of the LDDE models can be considered two extremes of the possible extrapolations of the SXLF below the flux limit of the survey.

We have also investigated the evolution of the number density of luminous QSOs with [FORMULA] [FORMULA], where the evolution can be traced up to the high luminosity. We have compared the results with similar quantities in optically- and radio-selected luminous QSOs. Unlike these QSOs, evolution of the ROSAT -selected QSOs does not show evidence for the decrease of the number density in [FORMULA]. The statistical significance of the difference is, however, marginal.

Key words: galaxies: active – galaxies: evolution – galaxies: quasars: general – cosmology: diffuse radiation – X-rays: galaxies – X-rays: general

Present address: Department of Physics, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA15213-3890, USA (miyaji@astro.phys.cmu.edu)

Send offprint requests to: T. Miyaji

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 2000

Online publication: December 8, 1999