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Title: Dark Energy Survey identification of a low-mass active galactic nucleus at redshift 0.823 from optical variability
ABSTRACT We report the identification of a low-mass active galactic nucleus (AGN), DES J0218−0430, in a redshift z = 0.823 galaxy in the Dark Energy Survey (DES) Supernova field. We select DES J0218−0430 as an AGN candidate by characterizing its long-term optical variability alone based on DES optical broad-band light curves spanning over 6 yr. An archival optical spectrum from the fourth phase of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey shows both broad Mg ii and broad H β lines, confirming its nature as a broad-line AGN. Archival XMM–Newton X-ray observations suggest an intrinsic hard X-ray luminosity of $L_{{\rm 2-12\, keV}}\approx 7.6\pm 0.4\times 10^{43}$ erg s−1, which exceeds those of the most X-ray luminous starburst galaxies, in support of an AGN driving the optical variability. Based on the broad H β from SDSS spectrum, we estimate a virial black hole (BH) mass of M• ≈ 106.43–106.72 M⊙ (with the error denoting the systematic uncertainty from different calibrations), consistent with the estimation from OzDES, making it the lowest mass AGN with redshift > 0.4 detected in optical. We estimate the host galaxy stellar mass to be M* ≈ 1010.5 ± 0.3 M⊙ based on modelling the multiwavelength spectral energy distribution. DES J0218−0430 extends the M•–M* relation observed in luminous AGNs at z ∼ 1 to more » masses lower than being probed by previous work. Our work demonstrates the feasibility of using optical variability to identify low-mass AGNs at higher redshift in deeper synoptic surveys with direct implications for the upcoming Legacy Survey of Space and Time at Vera C. Rubin Observatory. « less
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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
3636 to 3647
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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