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Title: Understanding extreme quasar optical variability with CRTS: II. Changing-state quasars
Abstract We present the results of a systematic search for quasars in the Catalina Real-time Transient Survey exhibiting both strong photometric and spectroscopic variability over a decadal baseline. We identify 111 sources with specific patterns of optical and mid-IR photometric behavior and a defined spectroscopic change. These “Changing-State” quasars (CSQs) form a higher luminosity sample to complement existing sets of “Changing-Look” AGN and quasars in the literature. The CSQs (by selection) exhibit larger photometric variability than the CLQs. The spectroscopic variability is marginally stronger in the CSQs than CLQs as defined by the change in Hβ/[O iii] ratio. We find 48 sources with declining Hβ flux, 63 sources with increasing Hβ flux and discover eight sources with z > 0.8, further extending the redshift arm. Our CSQ sample compares to the literature CLQ objects in similar distributions of Hβ flux ratios and differential Eddington ratios between high (bright) and low (dim) states. Taken as a whole, we find that this population of extreme varying quasars is associated with changes in the Eddington ratio and the timescales imply cooling/heating fronts propagating through the disk.
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Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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National Science Foundation
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