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  1. Abstract

    We present the optical–near-infrared spectral energy distributions (SED) and near-infrared variability properties of 30 low-redshift iron low-ionization Broad Absorption Line quasars (FeLoBALQs) and matched samples of LoBALQs and unabsorbed quasars. Significant correlations between the SED properties and accretion rate indicators found among the unabsorbed comparison sample objects suggest an intrinsic origin for SED differences. A range of reddening likely mutes these correlations among the FeLoBAL quasars. The rest-frame optical-band reddening is correlated with the location of the outflow, suggesting a link between the outflows and the presence of dust. We analyzed the WISE variability and provide a correction for photometry uncertainties in an appendix. We found an anticorrelation between the variability amplitude and inferred continuum emission region size, and we suggest that as the origin of the anticorrelation between variability amplitude and luminosity typically observed in quasars. We found that the LoBALQ Optical Emission-line and other parameters are more similar to those of the unabsorbed continuum sample objects than the FeLoBALQs. Thus, FeLoBAL quasars are a special population of objects. We interpret the results using an accretion-rate scenario for FeLoBAL quasars. The high-accretion-rate FeLoBAL quasars are radiating powerfully enough to drive a thick, high-velocity outflow. Quasars with intermediate accretion rates may have an outflow, but it is not sufficiently thick to include Feiiabsorption. Low-accretion-rate FeLoBAL outflows originate in absorption in a failing torus, no longer optically thick enough to reprocess radiation into the near-IR.

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    Galaxy clusters enable unique opportunities to study cosmology, dark matter, galaxy evolution, and strongly lensed transients. We here present a new cluster-finding algorithm, CluMPR (Clusters from Masses and Photometric Redshifts), that exploits photometric redshifts (photo-z’s) as well as photometric stellar mass measurements. CluMPR uses a 2D binary search tree to search for overdensities of massive galaxies with similar redshifts on the sky and then probabilistically assigns cluster membership by accounting for photo-z uncertainties. We leverage the deep DESI Legacy Survey grzW1W2 imaging over one-third of the sky to create a catalogue of $\sim 300\, 000$ galaxy cluster candidates out to z = 1, including tabulations of member galaxies and estimates of each cluster’s total stellar mass. Compared to other methods, CluMPR is particularly effective at identifying clusters at the high end of the redshift range considered (z = 0.75–1), with minimal contamination from low-mass groups. These characteristics make it ideal for identifying strongly lensed high-redshift supernovae and quasars that are powerful probes of cosmology, dark matter, and stellar astrophysics. As an example application of this cluster catalogue, we present a catalogue of candidate wide-angle strongly lensed quasars in Appendix C. The nine best candidates identified from this sample include two known lensed quasar systems and a possible changing-look lensed QSO with SDSS spectroscopy. All code and catalogues produced in this work are publicly available (see Data Availability).

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  3. Abstract

    To facilitate new studies of galaxy-merger-driven fueling of active galactic nuclei (AGNs), we present a catalog of 387 AGNs that we have identified in the final population of over 10,000z< 0.15 galaxies observed by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey-IV (SDSS-IV) integral field spectroscopy survey Mapping Nearby Galaxies at Apache Point Observatory (MaNGA). We selected the AGNs via mid-infrared Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer colors, Swift/Burst Alert Telescope ultra-hard X-ray detections, NRAO Very Large Array Sky Survey and Faint Images of the Radio Sky at Twenty centimeters radio observations, and broad emission lines in SDSS spectra. By combining the MaNGA AGN catalog with a new SDSS catalog of galaxy mergers that were identified based on a suite of hydrodynamical simulations of merging galaxies, we study the link between galaxy mergers and nuclear activity for AGNs above a limiting bolometric luminosity of 1044.4erg s−1. We find an excess of AGNs in mergers, relative to nonmergers, for galaxies with stellar mass ∼1011M, where the AGN excess is somewhat stronger in major mergers than in minor mergers. Further, when we combine minor and major mergers and sort by merger stage, we find that the highest AGN excess occurs in post-coalescence mergers in the highest-mass galaxies. However, we find no evidence of a correlation between galaxy mergers and AGN luminosity or accretion rate. In summary, while galaxy mergers overall do appear to trigger or enhance AGN activity more than nonmergers, they do not seem to induce higher levels of accretion or higher luminosities. We provide the MaNGA AGN Catalog and the MaNGA Galaxy Merger Catalog for the community here.

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  4. Abstract

    “Changing-look” active galactic nuclei (CL-AGNs) challenge our basic ideas about the physics of accretion flows and circumnuclear gas around supermassive black holes. Using first-year Sloan Digital Sky Survey V (SDSS-V) repeated spectroscopy of nearly 29,000 previously known active galactic nuclei (AGNs), combined with dedicated follow-up spectroscopy, and publicly available optical light curves, we have identified 116 CL-AGNs where (at least) one broad emission line has essentially (dis-)appeared, as well as 88 other extremely variable systems. Our CL-AGN sample, with 107 newly identified cases, is the largest reported to date, and includes ∼0.4% of the AGNs reobserved in first-year SDSS-V operations. Among our CL-AGNs, 67% exhibit dimming while 33% exhibit brightening. Our sample probes extreme AGN spectral variability on months to decades timescales, including some cases of recurring transitions on surprisingly short timescales (≲2 months in the rest frame). We find that CL events are preferentially found in lower-Eddington-ratio (fEdd) systems: Our CL-AGNs have afEdddistribution that significantly differs from that of a carefully constructed, redshift- and luminosity-matched control sample (Anderson–Darling test yieldingpAD≈ 6 × 10−5; medianfEdd≈ 0.025 versus 0.043). This preference for lowfEddstrengthens previous findings of higher CL-AGN incidence at lowerfEdd, found in smaller samples. Finally, we show that the broad Mgiiemission line in our CL-AGN sample tends to vary significantly less than the broad Hβemission line. Our large CL-AGN sample demonstrates the advantages and challenges in using multi-epoch spectroscopy from large surveys to study extreme AGN variability and physics.

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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 26, 2025
  5. Abstract

    We present multiwavelength characterization of 65 high-mass X-ray binary (HMXB) candidates in M33. We use the Chandra ACIS survey of M33 (ChASeM33) catalog to select hard X-ray point sources that are spatially coincident with UV-bright point-source optical counterparts in the Panchromatic Hubble Andromeda Treasury: Triangulum Extended Region catalog, which covers the inner disk of M33 at near-IR, optical, and near-UV wavelengths. We perform spectral energy distribution fitting on multiband photometry for each point-source optical counterpart to measure its physical properties including mass, temperature, luminosity, and radius. We find that the majority of the HMXB companion star candidates are likely B-type main-sequence stars, suggesting that the HMXB population of M33 is dominated by Be X-ray binaries (Be-XRBs), as is seen in other Local Group galaxies. We use spatially resolved recent star formation history maps of M33 to measure the age distribution of the HMXB candidate sample and the HMXB production rate for M33. We find a bimodal distribution for the HMXB production rate over the last 80 Myr, with a peak at ∼10 and ∼40 Myr, which match theoretical formation timescales for the most massive HMXBs and Be-XRBs, respectively. We measure an HMXB production rate of 107–136 HMXBs/(Myr−1) over the last 50 Myr and 150–199 HMXBs/(Myr−1) over the last 80 Myr. For sources with compact object classifications from overlapping NuSTAR observations, we find a preference for giant/supergiant companion stars in black hole HMXBs and main-sequence companion stars in neutron star HMXBs.

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  6. Abstract We report the discovery of a new “changing-look” active galactic nucleus (CLAGN) event, in the quasar SDSS J162829.17+432948.5 at z = 0.2603, identified through repeat spectroscopy from the fifth Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-V). Optical photometry taken during 2020–2021 shows a dramatic dimming of Δ g ≈ 1 mag, followed by a rapid recovery on a timescale of several months, with the ≲2 month period of rebrightening captured in new SDSS-V and Las Cumbres Observatory spectroscopy. This is one of the fastest CLAGN transitions observed to date. Archival observations suggest that the object experienced a much more gradual dimming over the period of 2011–2013. Our spectroscopy shows that the photometric changes were accompanied by dramatic variations in the quasar-like continuum and broad-line emission. The excellent agreement between the pre- and postdip photometric and spectroscopic appearances of the source, as well as the fact that the dimmest spectra can be reproduced by applying a single extinction law to the brighter spectral states, favor a variable line-of-sight obscuration as the driver of the observed transitions. Such an interpretation faces several theoretical challenges, and thus an alternative accretion-driven scenario cannot be excluded. The recent events observed in this quasar highlight the importance of spectroscopic monitoring of large active galactic nucleus samples on weeks-to-months timescales, which the SDSS-V is designed to achieve. 
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  8. Abstract

    We present a high-cadence multiepoch analysis of dramatic variability of three broad emission lines (Mgii, Hβ, and Hα) in the spectra of the luminous quasar (λLλ(5100 Å) = 4.7 × 1044erg s−1) SDSS J141041.25+531849.0 atz= 0.359 with 127 spectroscopic epochs over nine years of monitoring (2013–2022). We observe anticorrelations between the broad emission-line widths and flux in all three emission lines, indicating that all three broad emission lines “breathe” in response to stochastic continuum variations. We also observe dramatic radial velocity shifts in all three broad emission lines, ranging from Δv∼ 400 km s−1to ∼800 km s−1, that vary over the course of the monitoring period. Our preferred explanation for the broad-line variability is complex kinematics in the gas in the broad-line region. We suggest a model for the broad-line variability that includes a combination of gas inflow with a radial gradient, an azimuthal asymmetry (e.g., a hot spot), superimposed on the stochastic flux-driven changes to the optimal emission region (“line breathing”). Similar instances of line-profile variability due to complex gas kinematics around quasars are likely to represent an important source of false positives in radial velocity searches for binary black holes, which typically lack the kind of high-cadence data we analyze here. The long-duration, wide-field, and many-epoch spectroscopic monitoring of SDSS-V BHM-RM provides an excellent opportunity for identifying and characterizing broad emission-line variability, and the inferred nature of the inner gas environment, of luminous quasars.

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