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  1. ABSTRACT We study the optical gri photometric variability of a sample of 190 quasars within the SDSS Stripe 82 region that have long-term photometric coverage during ∼1998−2020 with SDSS, PanSTARRS-1, the Dark Energy Survey, and dedicated follow-up monitoring with Blanco 4m/DECam. With on average ∼200 nightly epochs per quasar per filter band, we improve the parameter constraints from a Damped Random Walk (DRW) model fit to the light curves over previous studies with 10–15 yr baselines and ≲ 100 epochs. We find that the average damping time-scale τDRW continues to rise with increased baseline, reaching a median value of ∼750 d (gmore »band) in the rest frame of these quasars using the 20-yr light curves. Some quasars may have gradual, long-term trends in their light curves, suggesting that either the DRW fit requires very long baselines to converge, or that the underlying variability is more complex than a single DRW process for these quasars. Using a subset of quasars with better-constrained τDRW (less than 20 per cent of the baseline), we confirm a weak wavelength dependence of τDRW∝λ0.51 ± 0.20. We further quantify optical variability of these quasars over days to decades time-scales using structure function (SF) and power spectrum density (PSD) analyses. The SF and PSD measurements qualitatively confirm the measured (hundreds of days) damping time-scales from the DRW fits. However, the ensemble PSD is steeper than that of a DRW on time-scales less than ∼ a month for these luminous quasars, and this second break point correlates with the longer DRW damping time-scale.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 2, 2023
  2. ABSTRACT Strongly lensed quadruply imaged quasars (quads) are extraordinary objects. They are very rare in the sky and yet they provide unique information about a wide range of topics, including the expansion history and the composition of the Universe, the distribution of stars and dark matter in galaxies, the host galaxies of quasars, and the stellar initial mass function. Finding them in astronomical images is a classic ‘needle in a haystack’ problem, as they are outnumbered by other (contaminant) sources by many orders of magnitude. To solve this problem, we develop state-of-the-art deep learning methods and train them on realisticmore »simulated quads based on real images of galaxies taken from the Dark Energy Survey, with realistic source and deflector models, including the chromatic effects of microlensing. The performance of the best methods on a mixture of simulated and real objects is excellent, yielding area under the receiver operating curve in the range of 0.86–0.89. Recall is close to 100 per cent down to total magnitude i ∼ 21 indicating high completeness, while precision declines from 85 per cent to 70 per cent in the range i ∼ 17–21. The methods are extremely fast: training on 2 million samples takes 20 h on a GPU machine, and 108 multiband cut-outs can be evaluated per GPU-hour. The speed and performance of the method pave the way to apply it to large samples of astronomical sources, bypassing the need for photometric pre-selection that is likely to be a major cause of incompleteness in current samples of known quads.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 5, 2023
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  4. Abstract We present the second public data release (DR2) from the DECam Local Volume Exploration survey (DELVE). DELVE DR2 combines new DECam observations with archival DECam data from the Dark Energy Survey, the DECam Legacy Survey, and other DECam community programs. DELVE DR2 consists of ∼160,000 exposures that cover >21,000 deg 2 of the high-Galactic-latitude (∣ b ∣ > 10°) sky in four broadband optical/near-infrared filters ( g , r , i , z ). DELVE DR2 provides point-source and automatic aperture photometry for ∼2.5 billion astronomical sources with a median 5 σ point-source depth of g = 24.3, rmore »= 23.9, i = 23.5, and z = 22.8 mag. A region of ∼17,000 deg 2 has been imaged in all four filters, providing four-band photometric measurements for ∼618 million astronomical sources. DELVE DR2 covers more than 4 times the area of the previous DELVE data release and contains roughly 5 times as many astronomical objects. DELVE DR2 is publicly available via the NOIRLab Astro Data Lab science platform.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  5. Abstract We present the results of an analysis of Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) observations of the full 2500 deg 2 South Pole Telescope (SPT)-Sunyaev–Zel’dovich cluster sample. We describe a process for identifying active galactic nuclei (AGN) in brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs) based on WISE mid-IR color and redshift. Applying this technique to the BCGs of the SPT-SZ sample, we calculate the AGN-hosting BCG fraction, which is defined as the fraction of BCGs hosting bright central AGNs over all possible BCGs. Assuming an evolving single-burst stellar population model, we find statistically significant evidence (>99.9%) for a mid-IR excess at highmore »redshift compared to low redshift, suggesting that the fraction of AGN-hosting BCGs increases with redshift over the range of 0 < z < 1.3. The best-fit redshift trend of the AGN-hosting BCG fraction has the form (1 + z ) 4.1±1.0 . These results are consistent with previous studies in galaxy clusters as well as as in field galaxies. One way to explain this result is that member galaxies at high redshift tend to have more cold gas. While BCGs in nearby galaxy clusters grow mostly by dry mergers with cluster members, leading to no increase in AGN activity, BCGs at high redshift could primarily merge with gas-rich satellites, providing fuel for feeding AGNs. If this observed increase in AGN activity is linked to gas-rich mergers rather than ICM cooling, we would expect to see an increase in scatter in the P cav versus L cool relation at z > 1. Last, this work confirms that the runaway cooling phase, as predicted by the classical cooling-flow model, in the Phoenix cluster is extremely rare and most BCGs have low (relative to Eddington) black hole accretion rates.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 3, 2023
  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  7. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  8. Exploiting the sensitivity of the IRAM NOrthern Extended Millimeter Array (NOEMA) and its ability to process large instantaneous bandwidths, we have studied the morphology and other properties of the molecular gas and dust in the star forming galaxy, H-ATLAS J131611.5+281219 (HerBS-89a), at z = 2.95. High angular resolution (0 . ″3) images reveal a partial 1 . ″0 diameter Einstein ring in the dust continuum emission and the molecular emission lines of 12 CO(9−8) and H 2 O(2 02  − 1 11 ). Together with lower angular resolution (0 . ″6) images, we report the detection of a series of molecularmore »lines including the three fundamental transitions of the molecular ion OH + , namely (1 1  − 0 1 ), (1 2  − 0 1 ), and (1 0  − 0 1 ), seen in absorption; the molecular ion CH + (1 − 0) seen in absorption, and tentatively in emission; two transitions of amidogen (NH 2 ), namely (2 02  − 1 11 ) and (2 20  − 2 11 ) seen in emission; and HCN(11 − 10) and/or NH(1 2  − 0 1 ) seen in absorption. The NOEMA data are complemented with Very Large Array data tracing the 12 CO(1 − 0) emission line, which provides a measurement of the total mass of molecular gas and an anchor for a CO excitation analysis. In addition, we present Hubble Space Telescope imaging that reveals the foreground lensing galaxy in the near-infrared (1.15  μ m). Together with photometric data from the Gran Telescopio Canarias, we derive a photometric redshift of z phot = 0.9 −0.5 +0.3 for the foreground lensing galaxy. Modeling the lensing of HerBS-89a, we reconstruct the dust continuum (magnified by a factor μ  ≃ 5.0) and molecular emission lines (magnified by μ  ∼ 4 − 5) in the source plane, which probe scales of ∼0 . ″1 (or 800 pc). The 12 CO(9 − 8) and H 2 O(2 02  − 1 11 ) emission lines have comparable spatial and kinematic distributions; the source-plane reconstructions do not clearly distinguish between a one-component and a two-component scenario, but the latter, which reveals two compact rotating components with sizes of ≈1 kpc that are likely merging, more naturally accounts for the broad line widths observed in HerBS-89a. In the core of HerBS-89a, very dense gas with n H 2  ∼ 10 7 − 9 cm −3 is revealed by the NH 2 emission lines and the possible HCN(11 − 10) absorption line. HerBS-89a is a powerful star forming galaxy with a molecular gas mass of M mol  = (2.1 ± 0.4) × 10 11   M ⊙ , an infrared luminosity of L IR  = (4.6 ± 0.4) × 10 12   L ⊙ , and a dust mass of M dust  = (2.6 ± 0.2) × 10 9   M ⊙ , yielding a dust-to-gas ratio δ GDR  ≈ 80. We derive a star formation rate SFR = 614 ± 59  M ⊙ yr −1 and a depletion timescale τ depl  = (3.4 ± 1.0) × 10 8 years. The OH + and CH + absorption lines, which trace low (∼100 cm −3 ) density molecular gas, all have their main velocity component red-shifted by Δ V  ∼ 100 km s −1 relative to the global CO reservoir. We argue that these absorption lines trace a rare example of gas inflow toward the center of a galaxy, indicating that HerBS-89a is accreting gas from its surroundings.« less
  9. null (Ed.)