skip to main content

Title: OzDES Reverberation Mapping Program: Hβ lags from the 6-yr survey

Reverberation mapping measurements have been used to constrain the relationship between the size of the broad-line region and luminosity of active galactic nuclei (AGN). This R–L relation is used to estimate single-epoch virial black hole masses, and has been proposed to use to standardize AGN to determine cosmological distances. We present reverberation measurements made with Hβ from the 6-yr Australian Dark Energy Survey (OzDES) Reverberation Mapping Program. We successfully recover reverberation lags for eight AGN at 0.12 < z < 0.71, probing higher redshifts than the bulk of Hβ measurements made to date. Our fit to the R–L relation has a slope of α = 0.41 ± 0.03 and an intrinsic scatter of σ = 0.23 ± 0.02 dex. The results from our multi-object spectroscopic survey are consistent with previous measurements made by dedicated source-by-source campaigns, and with the observed dependence on accretion rate. Future surveys, including LSST, TiDES, and SDSS-V, which will be revisiting some of our observed fields, will be able to build on the results of our first-generation multi-object reverberation mapping survey.

; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; more » ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; « less
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 2009-2023
Oxford University Press
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this

    The correlation between the broad line region radius and continuum luminosity (R–L relation) of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) is critical for single-epoch mass estimates of supermassive black holes (SMBHs). At z ∼ 1–2, where AGN activity peaks, the R–L relation is constrained by the reverberation mapping (RM) lags of the Mg ii line. We present 25 Mg ii lags from the Australian Dark Energy Survey RM project based on 6 yr of monitoring. We define quantitative criteria to select good lag measurements and verify their reliability with simulations based on both the damped random walk stochastic model and the rescaled, resampled versions of the observed light curves of local, well-measured AGN. Our sample significantly increases the number of Mg ii lags and extends the R–L relation to higher redshifts and luminosities. The relative iron line strength $\mathcal {R}_{\rm Fe}$ has little impact on the R–L relation. The best-fitting Mg iiR–L relation has a slope α = 0.39 ± 0.08 with an intrinsic scatter $\sigma _{\rm rl} = 0.15^{+0.03}_{-0.02}$ . The slope is consistent with previous measurements and shallower than the H β R–L relation. The intrinsic scatter of the new R–L relation is substantially smaller than previous studies and comparable to the intrinsic scatter of the H βmore »R–L relation. Our new R–L relation will enable more precise single-epoch mass estimates and SMBH demographic studies at cosmic noon.

    « less

    We compile optical and mid-infrared light curves from the time-domain surveys (i.e. CRTS, PTF, ZTF, and ASAS-SN) and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) archive for a selected sample of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) with Hβ reverberation mapping (RM) measurements. We measure the time lags (and thus torus sizes) of W1 (∼3.4 $\mu$ m) and W2 (∼4.6 $\mu$ m) band light curves relative to the optical one using the MICA method. Through Hβ RM, the sample has well-measured AGN properties, therefore allowing us to reliably constrain the relations between torus sizes and AGN properties. We perform linear regressions for the relations between torus sizes and 5100 Å luminosities ($R\propto L_{5100}^{\beta }$ ) in two cases: β = 0.5 and β set free. The latter case yields β ≈ 0.37 ± 0.028 for both W1 and W2 bands, shallower than the expected value of 0.5, possibly due to the dependence of torus size on accretion rate. For β = 0.5, by combining with the previous K band RM measurements, we obtain the characteristic broad-line region (BLR) and tours sizes following RBLR:RK :RW1:RW2 = 1.0:6.2:9.2:11.2. We investigate the deviations of the W1 and W2 band observed torus sizes from the corresponding best-fitting relations (with β = 0.5) and find that theymore »both are correlated with accretion rate. As the accretion rate increases, the torus sizes tend to be shortened compared to the anticipated sizes from the best-fitting relations, similar to the behaviour found in BLRs. Such behaviours can be explained by the self-shadowing effect of slim discs. This is further supported by ratios of the W1 and W2 band torus sizes to BLR sizes, which do not show significant correlations with AGN properties.

    « less
  3. ABSTRACT Reverberation mapping is a robust method to measure the masses of supermassive black holes outside of the local Universe. Measurements of the radius–luminosity (R−L) relation using the Mg ii emission line are critical for determining these masses near the peak of quasar activity at z ≈ 1−2, and for calibrating secondary mass estimators based on Mg ii that can be applied to large samples with only single-epoch spectroscopy. We present the first nine Mg ii lags from our 5-yr Australian Dark Energy Survey reverberation mapping programme, which substantially improves the number and quality of Mg ii lag measurements. As the Mg ii feature is somewhat blended with iron emission, we model and subtract both the continuum and iron contamination from the multiepoch spectra before analysing the Mg ii line. We also develop a new method of quantifying correlated spectroscopic calibration errors based on our numerous, contemporaneous observations of F-stars. The lag measurements for seven of our nine sources are consistent with both the H β and Mg ii R−L relations reported by previous studies. Our simulations verify the lag reliability of our nine measurements, and we estimate that the median false positive rate of the lag measurements is $4{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$.

    NK22 proposed a new method to reconstruct the temperature perturbation map (as functions of time and disc radius) of active galactic nuclei (AGN) accretion discs using multiwavelength photometric light curves. We apply their technique to 100 quasars at z = 0.5–2 from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Reverberation Mapping project, using multi-epoch spectroscopy that covers rest-frame UV-optical continuum emission from the quasar and probes days to months time-scales. Consistent with NK22 for low-redshift AGNs, we find that the dominant pattern of disc temperature perturbations is either slow inward/outward moving waves with typical amplitudes $\delta T/T_0\sim 10~{{\ \rm per \, cent}}$ traveling at ∼0.01–0.1c, with a typical radial frequency of ∼ 0.5 dex in log R, or incoherent perturbations. In nearly none of the cases do we find clear evidence for coherent, fast outgoing temperature perturbations at the speed of light, reminiscent of the lamppost model; but such lamppost signals may be present in some quasars for limited periods of the monitoring data. Using simulated data, we demonstrate that high-fidelity temperature perturbation maps can be recovered with high-quality monitoring spectroscopy, with limited impact from seasonal gaps in the data. On the other hand, reasonable temperature perturbation maps can be reconstructed with high-cadencemore »photometric light curves from the Vera C Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time. Our findings, together with NK22, suggest that internal disc processes are the main driver for temperature fluctuations in AGN accretion discs over days to months time-scales.

    « less

    Contemporary reverberation mapping campaigns are employing wide-area photometric data and high-multiplex spectroscopy to efficiently monitor hundreds of active galactic nuclei (AGNs). However, the interaction of the window function(s) imposed by the observation cadence with the reverberation lag and AGN variability time-scales (intrinsic to each source over a range of luminosities) impact our ability to recover these fundamental physical properties. Time dilation effects due to the sample source redshift distribution introduce added complexity. We present comprehensive analysis of the implications of observational cadence, seasonal gaps, and campaign baseline duration (i.e. the survey window function) for reverberation lag recovery. We find that the presence of a significant seasonal gap dominates the efficacy of any given campaign strategy for lag recovery across the parameter space, particularly for those sources with observed-frame lags above 100 d. Using the Australian Dark Energy Survey as a baseline, we consider the implications of this analysis for the 4MOST/Time-Domain Extragalactic Survey campaign providing concurrent follow-up of the Legacy Survey of Space and Time deep-drilling fields, as well as upcoming programmes. We conclude that the success of such surveys will be critically limited by the seasonal visibility of some potential field choices, but show significant improvement from extending themore »baseline. Optimizing the sample selection to fit the window function will improve survey efficacy.

    « less