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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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    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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  4. 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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  5. null (Ed.)
    Abstract Quasar black hole masses are most commonly estimated using broad emission lines in single epoch spectra based on scaling relationships determined from reverberation mapping of small samples of low-redshift objects. Several effects have been identified requiring modifications to these scaling relationships, resulting in significant reductions of the black hole mass determinations at high redshift. Correcting these systematic biases is critical to understanding the relationships among black hole and host galaxy properties. We are completing a program using the Gemini North telescope, called the Gemini North Infrared Spectrograph (GNIRS) Distant Quasar Survey (DQS), that has produced rest-frame optical spectra of about 200 high-redshift quasars (z = 1.5–3.5). The GNIRS-DQS will produce new and improved ultraviolet-based black hole mass and accretion rate prescriptions, as well as new redshift prescriptions for velocity zero points of high-z quasars, necessary to measure feedback. 
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  6. null (Ed.)