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  1. ABSTRACT We introduce a new model for understanding AGN continuum variability. We start from a Shakura–Sunyaev thin accretion disc with a steady-state radial temperature profile T(R) and assume that the variable flux is due to axisymmetric temperature perturbations δT(R, t). After linearizing the equations, we fit UV–optical AGN light curves to determine δT(R, t) for a sample of seven AGNs. We see a diversity of |δT/T| ∼ 0.1 fluctuation patterns which are not dominated by outgoing waves travelling at the speed of light as expected for the ‘lamppost’ model used to interpret disc reverberation mapping studies. Rather, the most common pattern resembles slow (v ≪ c) ingoing waves. An explanation for our findings is that these ingoing waves trigger central temperature fluctuations that act as a lamppost, producing lower amplitude temperature fluctuations moving outwards at the speed of light. The light curves are dominated by the lamppost signal – even though the temperature fluctuations are dominated by other structures with similar variability time-scales – because the discs exponentially smooth the contributions from the slower moving (v ≪ c) fluctuations to the observed light curves. This leads to light curves that closely resemble the expectations for a lamppost model but with the slowmore »variability time-scales of the ingoing waves. This also implies that longer time-scale variability signals will increasingly diverge from lamppost models because the smoothing of slower moving waves steadily decreases as their period or spatial wavelength increases.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 27, 2023
  2. ABSTRACT We present updated results of the Large Binocular Telescope Search for Failed Supernovae. This search monitors luminous stars in 27 nearby galaxies with a current baseline of 11 yr of data. We re-discover the failed supernova (SN) candidate N6946-BH1 as well as a new candidate, M101-OC1. M101-OC1 is a blue supergiant that rapidly disappears in optical wavelengths with no evidence for significant obscuration by warm dust. While we consider other options, a good explanation for the fading of M101-OC1 is a failed SN, but follow-up observations are needed to confirm this. Assuming only one clearly detected failed SN, we find a failed SN fraction $f = 0.16^{+0.23}_{-0.12}$ at 90 per cent confidence. We also report on a collection of stars that show slow (∼decade), large amplitude (ΔL/L > 3) luminosity changes.
  3. ABSTRACT We present Multi-Unit Spectroscopic Explorer (MUSE) integral-field spectroscopy of ESO 253−G003, which hosts a known active galactic nucleus (AGN) and the periodic nuclear transient ASASSN-14ko, observed as part of the All-weather MUse Supernova Integral-field of Nearby Galaxies survey. The MUSE observations reveal that the inner region hosts two AGN separated by $1.4\pm 0.1~\rm {kpc}$ (≈1${_{.}^{\prime\prime}}$7). The brighter nucleus has asymmetric broad permitted emission-line profiles and is associated with the archival AGN designation. The fainter nucleus does not have a broad emission-line component but exhibits other AGN characteristics, including $\hbox{$v_{\rm {FWHM}}$} \approx 700~\hbox{km~s$^{-1}$}$ forbidden line emission, $\rm{\log _{10}(\rm{[O\,\small {III}]}/\rm{H\beta})} \approx 1.1$, and high-excitation potential emission lines, such as [Fe vii] λ6086 and He ii λ4686. The host galaxy exhibits a disturbed morphology with large kpc-scale tidal features, potential outflows from both nuclei, and a likely superbubble. A circular relativistic disc model cannot reproduce the asymmetric broad emission-line profiles in the brighter nucleus, but two non-axisymmetric disc models provide good fits to the broad emission-line profiles: an elliptical disc model and a circular disc + spiral arm model. Implications for the periodic nuclear transient ASASSN-14ko are discussed.
  4. ABSTRACT We present observations of ASASSN-19dj, a nearby tidal disruption event (TDE) discovered in the post-starburst galaxy KUG 0810+227 by the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN) at a distance of d ≃ 98 Mpc. We observed ASASSN-19dj from −21 to 392 d relative to peak ultraviolet (UV)/optical emission using high-cadence, multiwavelength spectroscopy and photometry. From the ASAS-SN g-band data, we determine that the TDE began to brighten on 2019 February 6.8 and for the first 16 d the rise was consistent with a flux ∝t2 power law. ASASSN-19dj peaked in the UV/optical on 2019 March 6.5 (MJD = 58548.5) at a bolometric luminosity of L = (6.2 ± 0.2) × 1044 erg s−1. Initially remaining roughly constant in X-rays and slowly fading in the UV/optical, the X-ray flux increased by over an order of magnitude ∼225 d after peak, resulting from the expansion of the X-ray emitting region. The late-time X-ray emission is well fitted by a blackbody with an effective radius of ∼1 × 1012 cm and a temperature of ∼6 × 105 K. The X-ray hardness ratio becomes softer after brightening and then returns to a harder state as the X-rays fade. Analysis of Catalina Real-Time Transient Survey images reveals a nuclear outburst roughly 14.5 yr earlier with a smooth declinemore »and a luminosity of LV ≥ 1.4 × 1043 erg s−1, although the nature of the flare is unknown. ASASSN-19dj occurred in the most extreme post-starburst galaxy yet to host a TDE, with Lick HδA = 7.67 ± 0.17 Å.« less
  5. ABSTRACT We present the discovery of ASASSN-18jd (AT 2018bcb), a luminous optical/ultraviolet(UV)/X-ray transient located in the nucleus of the galaxy 2MASX J22434289–1659083 at z = 0.1192. Over the year after discovery, Swift UltraViolet and Optical Telescope (UVOT) photometry shows the UV spectral energy distribution of the transient to be well modelled by a slowly shrinking blackbody with temperature $T \sim 2.5 \times 10^{4} \, {\rm K}$, a maximum observed luminosity of $L_{\rm max} = 4.5^{+0.6}_{-0.3}\times 10^{44} \, {\rm erg \,s}^{-1}$, and a radiated energy of $E = 9.6^{+1.1}_{-0.6} \times 10^{51} \, {\rm erg}$. X-ray data from Swift X-Ray Telescope (XRT) and XMM–Newton show a transient, variable X-ray flux with blackbody and power-law components that fade by nearly an order of magnitude over the following year. Optical spectra show strong, roughly constant broad Balmer emission and transient features attributable to He ii, N iii–v, O iii, and coronal Fe. While ASASSN-18jd shares similarities with tidal disruption events (TDEs), it is also similar to the newly discovered nuclear transients seen in quiescent galaxies and faint active galactic nuclei (AGNs).