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  1. 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 absorptionmore »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.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
  2. 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-cadencemore »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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  3. 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 versionmore »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.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024
  4. 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 themore »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.« less