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  1. ABSTRACT We present results of time-series analysis of the first year of the Fairall 9 intensive disc-reverberation campaign. We used Swift and the Las Cumbres Observatory global telescope network to continuously monitor Fairall 9 from X-rays to near-infrared at a daily to subdaily cadence. The cross-correlation function between bands provides evidence for a lag spectrum consistent with the τ ∝ λ4/3 scaling expected for an optically thick, geometrically thin blackbody accretion disc. Decomposing the flux into constant and variable components, the variable component’s spectral energy distribution is slightly steeper than the standard accretion disc prediction. We find evidence at the Balmer edge in both the lag and flux spectra for an additional bound-free continuum contribution that may arise from reprocessing in the broad-line region. The inferred driving light curve suggests two distinct components, a rapidly variable (<4 d) component arising from X-ray reprocessing, and a more slowly varying (>100 d) component with an opposite lag to the reverberation signal.
  2. The Space Telescope and Optical Reverberation Mapping Project (AGN STORM) on NGC 5548 in 2014 is one of the most intensive multi-wavelength AGN monitoring campaigns ever. For most of the campaign,the emission-line variations followed changes in the continuum with a time lag, as expected. However, the lines varied independently of the observed UV-optical continuum during a 60-70 day holiday, suggesting that unobserved changes to the ionizing continuum were present. To understand this remarkable phenomenon and to obtain an independent assessment of the ionizing continuum variations, we study the intrinsic absorption lines present in NGC 5548. We identify a novel cycle that reproduces the absorption line variability and thus identify the physics that allows the holiday to occur. In this cycle, variations in this obscurer’s line-of-sight covering factor modify the soft X-ray continuum, changing the ionization of helium. Ionizing radiation produced by recombining helium then affects the level of ionization of some ions seen by HST. In particular, high-ionization species are affected by changes in the obscurer covering factor, which does not affect the optical or UV continuum, so appear as uncorrelated changes, a “holiday”. It is likely that any other model which selectively changes the soft X-ray part of themore »continuum during the holiday can also explain the anomalous emission-line behavior observed.« less