skip to main content


Title: Intensive Swift and LCO Monitoring of PG 1302–102: Active Galactic Nucleus Disk Reverberation Mapping of a Supermassive Black Hole Binary Candidate
Abstract

We present an intensive multiwavelength monitoring campaign of the quasar PG 1302−102 with Swift and the Las Cumbres Observatory network telescopes. Atz∼ 0.3, it tests the limits of the reverberation mapping (RM) technique in probing the accretion disk around a supermassive black hole (SMBH) and extends the parameter space to high masses and high accretion rates. This is also the first time the RM technique has been applied to test disk structures predicted in the SMBH binary model that has been suggested for this source. PG 1302−102 was observed at a ∼daily cadence for ∼9 months in 14 bands spanning from X-ray to UV and optical wavelengths, and it shows moderate to significant levels of variability correlated between wavelengths. We measure the interband time lags, which are consistent with aτλ4/3relation as expected from standard disk reprocessing, albeit with large uncertainties. The disk size implied by the lag spectrum is consistent with the expected disk size for its black hole mass within uncertainties. While the source resembles other reverberation-mapped active galactic nuclei in many respects, and we do not find evidence supporting the prevalent hypothesis that it hosts an SMBH binary, we demonstrate the feasibility of studying SMBH binaries from this novel angle and suggest possibilities for the LSST Deep Drilling Fields.

 
more » « less
Award ID(s):
1907290
NSF-PAR ID:
10497503
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Volume:
964
Issue:
2
ISSN:
0004-637X
Format(s):
Medium: X Size: Article No. 167
Size(s):
["Article No. 167"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    “Quasiperiodic eruptions” (QPE) are recurrent nuclear transients with periods of several hours to almost a day, which thus far have been detected exclusively in the X-ray band. We have shown that many of the key properties of QPE flares (period, luminosity, duration, emission temperature, alternating long-short recurrence time behavior, and source rates) are naturally reproduced by a scenario involving twice-per-orbit collisions between a solar-type star on a mildly eccentric orbit, likely brought into the nucleus as an extreme mass-ratio inspiral (EMRI), and the gaseous accretion disk of a supermassive black hole (SMBH). The flare is generated by the hot shocked debris expanding outwards from either side of the disk midplane, akin to dual miniature supernovae. Here, we consider the conditions necessary for disk–star collisions to generate lower-temperature flares that peak in the ultraviolet (UV) instead of the X-ray band. We identify a region of parameter space at low SMBH massM∼ 105.5Mand QPE periodsP≳ 10 hr for which the predicted flares are sufficiently luminousLUV∼ 1041erg s−1to outshine the quiescent disk emission at these wavelengths. The prospects to discover such “UV QPEs” with future satellite missions such as ULTRASAT and Ultraviolet Explorer depend on the prevalence of very low-mass SMBHs and the occurrence rate of stellar EMRIs onto them. For gaseous disks produced by the tidal disruption of stars, we predict that X-ray QPEs will eventually shut off, only to later reappear as UV QPEs as the accretion rate continues to drop.

     
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*), the Galactic Center supermassive black hole (SMBH), is one of the best targets in which to resolve the innermost region of an SMBH with very long baseline interferometry (VLBI). In this study, we have carried out observations toward Sgr A* at 1.349 cm (22.223 GHz) and 6.950 mm (43.135 GHz) with the East Asian VLBI Network, as a part of the multiwavelength campaign of the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) in 2017 April. To mitigate scattering effects, the physically motivated scattering kernel model from Psaltis et al. (2018) and the scattering parameters from Johnson et al. (2018) have been applied. As a result, a single, symmetric Gaussian model well describes the intrinsic structure of Sgr A* at both wavelengths. From closure amplitudes, the major-axis sizes are ∼704 ± 102μas (axial ratio ∼1.190.19+0.24) and ∼300 ± 25μas (axial ratio ∼1.28 ± 0.2) at 1.349 cm and 6.95 mm, respectively. Together with a quasi-simultaneous observation at 3.5 mm (86 GHz) by Issaoun et al. (2019), we show that the intrinsic size scales with observing wavelength as a power law, with an index ∼1.2 ± 0.2. Our results also provide estimates of the size and compact flux density at 1.3 mm, which can be incorporated into the analysis of the EHT observations. In terms of the origin of radio emission, we have compared the intrinsic structures with the accretion flow scenario, especially the radiatively inefficient accretion flow based on the Keplerian shell model. With this, we show that a nonthermal electron population is necessary to reproduce the source sizes.

     
    more » « less
  3. UV and optical continuum reverberation mapping is a powerful tool for probing the accretion disk and inner broad-line region. However, recent reverberation mapping campaigns in the X-ray, UV, and optical have found lags consistently longer than those expected from the standard disk reprocessing picture. The largest discrepancy to date was recently reported in Mrk 335, where UV/optical lags are up to 12 times longer than expected. Here, we perform a frequency-resolved time lag analysis of Mrk 335, using Gaussian processes to account for irregular sampling. For the first time, we compare the Fourier frequency-resolved lags directly to those computed using the popular interpolated cross-correlation function method applied to both the original and detrended light curves. We show that the anticipated disk reverberation lags are recovered by the Fourier lags when zeroing in on the short-timescale variability. This suggests that a separate variability component is present on long timescales. If this separate component is modeled as reverberation from another region beyond the accretion disk, we constrain a size scale of roughly 15 lt-days from the central black hole. This is consistent with the size of the broad-line region inferred from Hβreverberation lags. We also find tentative evidence for a soft X-ray lag, which we propose may be due to light travel time delays between the hard X-ray corona and distant photoionized gas that dominates the soft X-ray spectrum below 2 keV. 
    more » « less
  4. ABSTRACT We carried out photometric and spectroscopic observations of the well-studied broad-line radio galaxy 3C 120 with the Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO) global robotic telescope network from 2016 December to 2018 April as part of the LCO AGN Key Project on Reverberation Mapping of Accretion Flows. Here, we present both spectroscopic and photometric reverberation mapping results. We used the interpolated cross-correlation function to perform multiple-line lag measurements in 3C 120. We find the H γ, He ii λ4686, H β, and He i λ5876 lags of $\tau _{\text{cen}} = 18.8_{-1.0}^{+1.3}$, $2.7_{-0.8}^{+0.7}$, $21.2_{-1.0}^{+1.6}$, and $16.9_{-1.1}^{+0.9}$ d, respectively, relative to the V-band continuum. Using the measured lag and rms velocity width of the H β emission line, we determine the mass of the black hole for 3C 120 to be $M=(6.3^{+0.5}_{-0.3})\times 10^7\, (f/5.5)$ M⊙. Our black hole mass measurement is consistent with similar previous studies on 3C 120, but with small uncertainties. In addition, velocity-resolved lags in 3C 120 show a symmetric pattern across the H β line, 25 d at line centre decreasing to 17 d in the line wings at ±4000 km s−1. We also investigate the inter-band continuum lags in 3C 120 and find that they are generally consistent with τ ∝ λ4/3 as predicted from a geometrically thin, optically thick accretion disc. From the continuum lags, we measure the best-fitting value τ0 = 3.5 ± 0.2 d at $\lambda _{\rm 0} = 5477\, \mathring{\rm A}$. It implies a disc size a factor of 1.6 times larger than prediction from the standard disc model with L/LEdd = 0.4. This is consistent with previous studies in which larger than expected disc sizes were measured. 
    more » « less
  5. Abstract We present accretion-disk structure measurements from UV–optical reverberation mapping (RM) observations of a sample of eight quasars at 0.24 < z < 0.85. Ultraviolet photometry comes from two cycles of Hubble Space Telescope monitoring, accompanied by multiband optical monitoring by the Las Cumbres Observatory network and Liverpool Telescopes. The targets were selected from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Reverberation Mapping project sample with reliable black hole mass measurements from H β RM results. We measure significant lags between the UV and various optical griz bands using JAVELIN and CREAM methods. We use the significant lag results from both methods to fit the accretion-disk structure using a Markov Chain Monte Carlo approach. We study the accretion disk as a function of disk normalization, temperature scaling, and efficiency. We find direct evidence for diffuse nebular emission from Balmer and Fe ii lines over discrete wavelength ranges. We also find that our best-fit disk color profile is broadly consistent with the Shakura & Sunyaev disk model. We compare our UV–optical lags to the disk sizes inferred from optical–optical lags of the same quasars and find that our results are consistent with these quasars being drawn from a limited high-lag subset of the broader population. Our results are therefore broadly consistent with models that suggest longer disk lags in a subset of quasars, for example, due to a nonzero size of the ionizing corona and/or magnetic heating contributing to the disk response. 
    more » « less