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  1. Abstract We present a new empirical template for iron emission in active galactic nuclei (AGNs) covering the 4000–5600 Å range. The new template is based on a spectrum of the narrow-line Seyfert 1 galaxy Mrk 493 obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope. In comparison with the canonical iron template object I Zw 1, Mrk 493 has narrower broad-line widths, lower reddening, and a less extreme Eddington ratio, making it a superior choice for template construction. We carried out a multicomponent spectral decomposition to produce a template incorporating all the permitted and forbidden lines of Fe ii identified in the Mrk 493 spectrum over this wavelength range, as well as lines from Ti ii , Ni ii , and Cr ii . We tested the template by fitting it to AGN spectra spanning a broad range of iron emission properties, and we present a detailed comparison with fits using other widely used monolithic and multicomponent iron emission templates. The new template generally provides the best fit (lowest χ 2 ) compared to other widely used monolithic empirical templates. In addition, the new template yields more accurate spectral measurements including a significantly better match of the derived Balmer line profiles (H βmore », H γ , H δ ), in contrast with results obtained using the other templates. Our comparison tests show that the choice of iron template can introduce a systematic bias in measurements of the H β line width, which consequently impacts single-epoch black hole mass estimates by ∼0.1 dex on average and possibly up to ∼0.3–0.5 dex individually.« less
  2. Abstract Photoionization modeling of active galactic nuclei (AGN) predicts that diffuse continuum (DC) emission from the broad-line region makes a substantial contribution to the total continuum emission from ultraviolet through near-infrared wavelengths. Evidence for this DC component is present in the strong Balmer jump feature in AGN spectra, and possibly from reverberation measurements that find longer lags than expected from disk emission alone. However, the Balmer jump region contains numerous blended emission features, making it difficult to isolate the DC emission strength. In contrast, the Paschen jump region near 8200 Å is relatively uncontaminated by other strong emission features. Here, we examine whether the Paschen jump can aid in constraining the DC contribution, using Hubble Space Telescope Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph spectra of six nearby Seyfert 1 nuclei. The spectra appear smooth across the Paschen edge, and we find no evidence of a Paschen spectral break or jump in total flux. We fit multicomponent spectral models over the range 6800–9700 Å and find that the spectra can still be compatible with a significant DC contribution if the DC Paschen jump is offset by an opposite spectral break resulting from blended high-order Paschen emission lines. The fits imply DC contributions rangingmore »from ∼10% to 50% at 8000 Å, but the fitting results are highly dependent on assumptions made about other model components. These degeneracies can potentially be alleviated by carrying out fits over a broader wavelength range, provided that models can accurately represent the disk continuum shape, Fe ii emission, high-order Balmer line emission, and other components.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  3. Abstract We have modeled the velocity-resolved reverberation response of the H β broad emission line in nine Seyfert 1 galaxies from the Lick Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN) Monitoring Project 2016 sample, drawing inferences on the geometry and structure of the low-ionization broad-line region (BLR) and the mass of the central supermassive black hole. Overall, we find that the H β BLR is generally a thick disk viewed at low to moderate inclination angles. We combine our sample with prior studies and investigate line-profile shape dependence, such as log 10 ( FWHM / σ ) , on BLR structure and kinematics and search for any BLR luminosity-dependent trends. We find marginal evidence for an anticorrelation between the profile shape of the broad H β emission line and the Eddington ratio, when using the rms spectrum. However, we do not find any luminosity-dependent trends, and conclude that AGNs have diverse BLR structure and kinematics, consistent with the hypothesis of transient AGN/BLR conditions rather than systematic trends.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  4. Abstract

    We carried out spectroscopic monitoring of 21 low-redshift Seyfert 1 galaxies using the Kast double spectrograph on the 3 m Shane telescope at Lick Observatory from 2016 April to 2017 May. Targeting active galactic nuclei (AGNs) with luminosities ofλLλ(5100 Å) ≈ 1044erg s−1and predicted Hβlags of ∼20–30 days or black hole masses of 107–108.5M, our campaign probes luminosity-dependent trends in broad-line region (BLR) structure and dynamics as well as to improve calibrations for single-epoch estimates of quasar black hole masses. Here we present the first results from the campaign, including Hβemission-line light curves, integrated Hβlag times (8–30 days) measured againstV-band continuum light curves, velocity-resolved reverberation lags, line widths of the broad Hβcomponents, and virial black hole mass estimates (107.1–108.1M). Our results add significantly to the number of existing velocity-resolved lag measurements and reveal a diversity of BLR gas kinematics at moderately high AGN luminosities. AGN continuum luminosity appears not to be correlated with the type of kinematics that its BLR gas may exhibit. Follow-up direct modeling of this data set will elucidate the detailed kinematics and provide robust dynamical black hole masses for several objects in this sample.