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  1. Abstract

    The most reliable single-epoch supermassive black hole mass (MBH) estimates in quasars are obtained by using the velocity widths of low-ionization emission lines, typically the Hβλ4861 line. Unfortunately, this line is redshifted out of the optical band atz≈ 1, leavingMBHestimates to rely on proxy rest-frame ultraviolet (UV) emission lines, such as Civλ1549 or Mgiiλ2800, which contain intrinsic challenges when measuring, resulting in uncertainMBHestimates. In this work, we aim at correctingMBHestimates derived from the Civand Mgiiemission lines based on estimates derived from the Hβemission line. We find that employing the equivalent width of Civin derivingMBHestimates based on Mgiiand Civprovides values that are closest to those obtained from Hβ. We also provide prescriptions to estimateMBHvalues when only Civ, only Mgii, and both Civand Mgiiare measurable. We find that utilizing both emission lines, where available, reduces the scatter of UV-basedMBHestimates by ∼15% when compared to previous studies. Lastly, we discuss the potential of our prescriptions to provide more accurate and precise estimates ofMBHgiven a much larger sample of quasars at 3.20 ≲z≲ 3.50, where both Mgiiand Hβcan be measured in the same near-infrared spectrum.

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  2. Abstract

    Quasars atz≳ 1 most often have redshifts measured from rest-frame ultraviolet emission lines. One of the most common such lines, Civλ1549, shows blueshifts up to ≈5000 km s−1and in rare cases even higher. This blueshifting results in highly uncertain redshifts when compared to redshift determinations from rest-frame optical emission lines, e.g., from the narrow [Oiii]λ5007 feature. We present spectroscopic measurements for 260 sources at 1.55 ≲z≲ 3.50 having −28.0 ≲Mi≲ − 30.0 mag from the Gemini Near Infrared Spectrograph–Distant Quasar Survey (GNIRS-DQS) catalog, augmenting the previous iteration, which contained 226 of the 260 sources whose measurements are improved upon in this work. We obtain reliable systemic redshifts based on [Oiii]λ5007 for a subset of 121 sources, which we use to calibrate prescriptions for correcting UV-based redshifts. These prescriptions are based on a regression analysis involving Civfull-width-at-half-maximum intensity and equivalent width, along with the UV continuum luminosity at a rest-frame wavelength of 1350 Å. Applying these corrections can improve the accuracy and the precision in the Civ-based redshift by up to ∼850 km s−1and ∼150 km s−1, respectively, which correspond to ∼8.5 and ∼1.5 Mpc in comoving distance atz= 2.5. Our prescriptions also improve the accuracy of the best available multifeature redshift determination algorithm by ∼100 km s−1, indicating that the spectroscopic properties of the Civemission line can provide robust redshift estimates for high-redshift quasars. We discuss the prospects of our prescriptions for cosmological and quasar studies utilizing upcoming large spectroscopic surveys.

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    The radio emission is an important observable of quasars, but its relationship to Eigenvector 1 and the [O iii] λ5007 Baldwin Effect is not fully understood. We explore these issues based on a sample of 1800 quasars taken from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 7. We employ a new approach of selecting subsamples in the plane of fundamental physical parameters of the black hole mass and Eddington ratio, so as to reduce variables and complexity in analyses. Based on these subsamples, we investigate the relationship between radio loudness R and Eigenvector 1 and find that radio loudness is correlated with [O iii] λ5007 emission, but has no clear relationship with optical Fe ii emission, which indicates that the radio power is probably not a driver of Eigenvector 1 but merely a secondary process. In addition, we also investigate the impact of radio loudness on the Baldwin Effect of [O iii] λ5007. We find that when the radio loudness is not strong (log R < 2), the Baldwin Effect of [O iii] λ5007 is clear, while in the samples of extreme radio loudness (log R ≥ 2), the Baldwin Effect of [O iii] λ5007 becomes weaker or even disappears. We suggest that both radio loudness and luminosity influence the relative strength of [O iii].

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    Determining black hole masses and accretion rates with better accuracy and precision is crucial for understanding quasars as a population. These are fundamental physical properties that underpin models of active galactic nuclei. A primary technique to measure the black hole mass employs the reverberation mapping of low-redshift quasars, which is then extended via the radius–luminosity relationship for the broad-line region to estimate masses based on single-epoch spectra. An updated radius–luminosity relationship incorporates the flux ratio of optical Fe ii to H β ($\equiv \mathcal {R}_{\rm Fe}$) to correct for a bias in which more highly accreting systems have smaller line-emitting regions than previously realized. In this work, we demonstrate and quantify the effect of using this Fe-corrected radius-luminosity relationship on mass estimation by employing archival data sets possessing rest-frame optical spectra over a wide range of redshifts. We find that failure to use an Fe-corrected radius predictor results in overestimated single-epoch black hole masses for the most highly accreting quasars. Their accretion rate measures (LBol/LEdd and $\dot{\mathscr{M}}$ ) are similarly underestimated. The strongest Fe-emitting quasars belong to two classes: high-z quasars with rest-frame optical spectra, which, given their extremely high luminosities, require high accretion rates, and their low-z analogues, which, given their low black holes masses, must have high accretion rates to meet survey flux limits. These classes have mass corrections downward of about a factor of two, on average. These results strengthen the association of the dominant Eigenvector 1 parameter $\mathcal {R}_{\rm Fe}$ with the accretion process.

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  5. Abstract

    Weak emission-line quasars (WLQs) are a subset of type 1 quasars that exhibit extremely weak Lyα+ Nvλ1240 and/or Civλ1549 emission lines. We investigate the relationship between emission-line properties and accretion rate for a sample of 230 “ordinary” type 1 quasars and 18 WLQs atz< 0.5 and 1.5 <z< 3.5 that have rest-frame ultraviolet and optical spectral measurements. We apply a correction to the Hβ-based black hole mass (MBH) estimates of these quasars using the strength of the optical Feiiemission. We confirm previous findings that WLQs’MBHvalues are overestimated by up to an order of magnitude using the traditional broad-emission-line region size–luminosity relation. With thisMBHcorrection, we find a significant correlation between Hβ-based Eddington luminosity ratios and a combination of the rest-frame Civequivalent width and Civblueshift with respect to the systemic redshift. This correlation holds for both ordinary quasars and WLQs, which suggests that the two-dimensional Civparameter space can serve as an indicator of accretion rate in all type 1 quasars across a wide range of spectral properties.

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  6. Abstract The AGN STORM 2 Collaboration targeted the Seyfert 1 galaxy Mrk 817 for a year-long multiwavelength, coordinated reverberation mapping campaign including Hubble Space Telescope, Swift, XMM-Newton, NICER, and ground-based observatories. Early observations with NICER and XMM revealed an X-ray state 10 times fainter than historical observations, consistent with the presence of a new dust-free, ionized obscurer. The following analysis of NICER spectra attributes variability in the observed X-ray flux to changes in both the column density of the obscurer by at least one order of magnitude ( N H ranges from 2.85 − 0.33 + 0.48 × 10 22 cm − 2 to 25.6 − 3.5 + 3.0 × 10 22 cm − 2 ) and the intrinsic continuum brightness (the unobscured flux ranges from 10 −11.8 to 10 −10.5 erg s −1 cm −2 ). While the X-ray flux generally remains in a faint state, there is one large flare during which Mrk 817 returns to its historical mean flux. The obscuring gas is still present at lower column density during the flare, but it also becomes highly ionized, increasing its transparency. Correlation between the column density of the X-ray obscurer and the strength of UV broad absorption lines suggests that the X-ray and UV continua are both affected by the same obscuration, consistent with a clumpy disk wind launched from the inner broad-line region. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024

    We report the results of long-term reverberation mapping campaigns of the nearby active galactic nuclei (AGNs) NGC 4151, spanning from 1994 to 2022, based on archived observations of the FAST Spectrograph Publicly Archived Programs and our new observations with the 2.3 m telescope at the Wyoming Infrared Observatory. We reduce and calibrate all the spectra in a consistent way, and derive light curves of the broad H β line and 5100 Å continuum. Continuum light curves are also constructed using public archival photometric data to increase sampling cadences. We subtract the host galaxy contamination using Hubble Space Telescope imaging to correct fluxes of the calibrated light curves. Utilizing the long-term archival photometric data, we complete the absolute flux-calibration of the AGN continuum. We find that the H β time delays are correlated with the 5100 Å luminosities as $\tau _{\rm H\beta }\propto L_{5100}^{0.46\pm 0.16}$. This is remarkably consistent with Bentz et al. (2013)’s global size–luminosity relationship of AGNs. Moreover, the data sets for five of the seasons allow us to obtain the velocity-resolved delays of the H β line, showing diverse structures (outflows, inflows, and discs). Combining our results with previous independent measurements, we find the measured dynamics of the H β broad-line region (BLR) are possibly related to the long-term trend of the luminosity. There is also a possible additional ∼1.86 yr time lag between the variation in BLR radius and luminosity. These results suggest that dynamical changes in the BLR may be driven by the effects of radiation pressure.

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  8. Abstract We present reverberation mapping measurements for the prominent ultraviolet broad emission lines of the active galactic nucleus Mrk 817 using 165 spectra obtained with the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph on the Hubble Space Telescope. Our ultraviolet observations are accompanied by X-ray, optical, and near-infrared observations as part of the AGN Space Telescope and Optical Reverberation Mapping Program 2 (AGN STORM 2). Using the cross-correlation lag analysis method, we find significant correlated variations in the continuum and emission-line light curves. We measure rest-frame delayed responses between the far-ultraviolet continuum at 1180 Å and Ly α λ 1215 Å ( 10.4 − 1.4 + 1.6 days), N v λ 1240 Å ( 15.5 − 4.8 + 1.0 days), Si iv + ]O iv λ 1397 Å ( 8.2 − 1.4 + 1.4 days), C iv λ 1549 Å ( 11.8 − 2.8 + 3.0 days), and He ii λ 1640 Å ( 9.0 − 1.9 + 4.5 days) using segments of the emission-line profile that are unaffected by absorption and blending, which results in sampling different velocity ranges for each line. However, we find that the emission-line responses to continuum variations are more complex than a simple smoothed, shifted, and scaled version of the continuum light curve. We also measure velocity-resolved lags for the Ly α and C iv emission lines. The lag profile in the blue wing of Ly α is consistent with virial motion, with longer lags dominating at lower velocities, and shorter lags at higher velocities. The C iv lag profile shows the signature of a thick rotating disk, with the shortest lags in the wings, local peaks at ±1500 km s −1 , and a local minimum at the line center. The other emission lines are dominated by broad absorption lines and blending with adjacent emission lines. These require detailed models, and will be presented in future work. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024
  9. Abstract In this third paper of the series reporting on the reverberation mapping campaign of active galactic nuclei with asymmetric H β emission-line profiles, we present results for 15 Palomar–Green quasars using spectra obtained between the end of 2016–2021 May. This campaign combines long time spans with relatively high cadence. For eight objects, both the time lags obtained from the entire light curves and the measurements from individual observing seasons are provided. Reverberation mapping of nine of our targets has been attempted for the first time, while the results for six others can be compared with previous campaigns. We measure the H β time lags over periods of years and estimate their black hole masses. The long duration of the campaign enables us to investigate their broad-line region (BLR) geometry and kinematics for different years by using velocity-resolved lags, which demonstrate signatures of diverse BLR geometry and kinematics. The BLR geometry and kinematics of individual objects are discussed. In this sample, the BLR kinematics of Keplerian/virialized motion and inflow is more common than that of outflow. 
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