Gabriela Calistro Rivera, Elisabeta Lusso, Joseph F. Hennawi, David W. Hogg

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    We present AGNfitter, a publicly available open-source algorithm implementing a fully Bayesian Markov Chain Monte Carlo method to fit the spectral energy distributions (SEDs) of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) from the sub-millimeter to the UV, allowing one to robustly disentangle the physical processes responsible for their emission. AGNfitter makes use of a large library of theoretical, empirical, and semi-empirical models to characterize both the nuclear and host galaxy emission simultaneously. The model consists of four physical emission components: an accretion disk, a torus of AGN heated dust, stellar populations, and cold dust in star-forming regions. AGNfitter determines the posterior distributions of numerous parameters that govern the physics of AGNs with a fully Bayesian treatment of errors and parameter degeneracies, allowing one to infer integrated luminosities, dust attenuation parameters, stellar masses, and star-formation rates. We tested AGNfitter's performance on real data by fitting the SEDs of a sample of 714 X-ray selected AGNs from the XMM-COSMOS survey, spectroscopically classified as Type1 (unobscured) and Type2 (obscured) AGNs by their optical-UV emission lines. We find that two independent model parameters, namely the reddening of the accretion disk and the column density of the dusty torus, are good proxies for AGN obscuration, allowing us to develop a strategy for classifying AGNs as Type1 or Type2, based solely on an SED-fitting analysis. Our classification scheme is in excellent agreement with the spectroscopic classification, giving a completeness fraction of and , and an efficiency of and , for Type1 and Type2 AGNs, respectively.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number98
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Dec 10 2016


    • galaxies: active
    • galaxies: nuclei
    • galaxies: statistics
    • methods: statistical
    • quasars: general

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Space and Planetary Science

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