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    We used Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) data to identify 29 candidate active galactic nuclei (AGNs) through their optical variability. The high-cadence, high-precision TESS light curves present an opportunity for the identification of AGNs, including those not selected through other methods. Of the candidates, we found that 18 have either previously been identified as AGNs in the literature or could have been selected based on emission-line diagnostics, mid-IR colours, or X-ray luminosity. AGNs in low-mass galaxies offer a unique window into supermassive black hole and galaxy co-evolution and 8 of the 29 candidates have estimated black hole masses ≲ 106 M⊙. The low-mass galaxies NGC 4395 and NGC 4449 are two of our five ‘high-confidence’ candidates. Since our initial sample largely draws from just nine TESS sectors, we expect to identify at least ∼45 more candidates in the TESS primary and extended mission data sets, of which ∼60 per cent will be new AGNs and ∼20 per cent will be in low-mass galaxies.

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  2. Abstract

    ASASSN-14ko is a nuclear transient at the center of the AGN ESO 253−G003 that undergoes periodic flares. Optical flares were first observed in 2014 by the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN) and their peak times are well-modeled with a period of115.21.2+1.3days and period derivative of −0.0026 ± 0.0006. Here we present ASAS-SN, Chandra, HST/STIS, NICER, Swift, and TESS data for the flares that occurred on 2020 December, 2021 April, 2021 July, and 2021 November. These four flares represent flares 18–21 of the total number of flares observed by ASAS-SN so far since 2014. The HST/STIS UV spectra evolve from blueshifted broad absorption features to redshifted broad emission features over ∼10 days. The Swift UV/optical light curves peaked as predicted by the timing model, but the peak UV luminosities that varied between flares and the UV flux in Flare 20 were roughly half the brightness of the other peaks. The X-ray luminosities consistently decreased and the spectra became harder during the UV/optical rise, but apparently without changes in absorption. Finally, two high-cadence TESS light curves from Flare 18 and Flare 12 showed that the slopes during the rising and declining phases changed over time, which indicates some stochasticity in the flare’s driving mechanism. Although ASASSN-14ko remains observationally consistent with a repeating partial tidal disruption event, these rich multi-wavelength data are in need of a detailed theoretical model.

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    We analyse high-cadence data from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) of the ambiguous nuclear transient (ANT) ASASSN-18el. The optical changing-look phenomenon in ASASSN-18el has been argued to be due to either a drastic change in the accretion rate of the existing active galactic nucleus (AGN) or the result of a tidal disruption event (TDE). Throughout the TESS observations, short-time-scale stochastic variability is seen, consistent with an AGN. We are able to fit the TESS light curve with a damped-random-walk (DRW) model and recover a rest-frame variability amplitude of $\hat{\sigma } = 0.93 \pm 0.02$ mJy and a rest-frame time-scale of $\tau _{DRW} = 20^{+15}_{-6}$ d. We find that the estimated τDRW for ASASSN-18el is broadly consistent with an apparent relationship between the DRW time-scale and central supermassive black hole mass. The large-amplitude stochastic variability of ASASSN-18el, particularly during late stages of the flare, suggests that the origin of this ANT is likely due to extreme AGN activity rather than a TDE.

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  4. Abstract

    We present a spectroscopic analysis of 44 low-luminosity host galaxies of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) detected by the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN), using hydrogen, oxygen, and sulfur emission lines to measure metallicities and star formation rates. We find no statistically significant evidence that the star formation activity and metallicities of the galaxies in our sample are inconsistent with galaxies of similar luminosities and masses. We identify two 3σoutlier galaxies that have high metallicities for their stellar masses, but find that their other properties are consistent with general galaxies. The overall consistency between our sample and general galaxy samples further strengthens the evidence from more luminous SN Ia host galaxy samples that SN Ia host galaxies are typical.

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    We present the discovery that ATLAS18mlw was a tidal disruption event (TDE) in the galaxy WISEA J073544.83+663717.3, at a luminosity distance of 334 Mpc. Initially discovered by the Asteroid Terrestrial Impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) on 2018 March 17.3, the TDE nature of the transient was uncovered only recently with the re-reduction of a SuperNova Integral Field Spectrograph (SNIFS) spectrum. This spectrum, taken by the Spectral Classification of Astronomical Transients (SCAT) survey, shows a strong blue continuum and a broad H α emission line. Here, we present roughly 6 yr of optical survey photometry beginning before the TDE to constrain active galactic nucleus activity, optical spectroscopy of the transient, and a detailed study of the host galaxy properties through analysis of archival photometry and a host spectrum. ATLAS18mlw was detected in ground-based light curves for roughly 2 months. From a blackbody fit to the transient spectrum and bolometric correction of the optical light curve, we conclude that ATLAS18mlw is best explained by a low-luminosity TDE with a peak luminosity of log(L [erg s−1]) = 43.5 ± 0.2. The TDE classification is further supported by the quiescent Balmer strong nature of the host galaxy. We also calculated the TDE decline rate from the bolometric light curve and find ΔL40 = −0.7 ± 0.2 dex, making ATLAS18mlw a member of the growing class of ‘faint and fast’ TDEs with low peak luminosities and fast decline rates.

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  7. Abstract

    We present observations of ASASSN-20hx, a nearby ambiguous nuclear transient (ANT) discovered in NGC 6297 by the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN). We observed ASASSN-20hx from −30 to 275 days relative to the peak UV/optical emission using high-cadence, multiwavelength spectroscopy and photometry. From Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite data, we determine that the ANT began to brighten on 2020 June 22.8 with a linear rise in flux for at least the first week. ASASSN-20hx peaked in the UV/optical 30 days later on 2020 July 22.8 (MJD = 59052.8) at a bolometric luminosity ofL= (3.15 ± 0.04) × 1043erg s−1. The subsequent decline is slower than any TDE observed to date and consistent with many other ANTs. Compared to an archival X-ray detection, the X-ray luminosity of ASASSN-20hx increased by an order of magnitude toLx∼ 1.5 × 1042erg s−1and then slowly declined over time. The X-ray emission is well fit by a power law with a photon index of Γ ∼ 2.3–2.6. Both the optical and near-infrared spectra of ASASSN-20hx lack emission lines, unusual for any known class of nuclear transient. While ASASSN-20hx has some characteristics seen in both tidal disruption events and active galactic nuclei, it cannot be definitively classified with current data.

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  8. Abstract

    We present observations of the extremely luminous but ambiguous nuclear transient (ANT) ASASSN-17jz, spanning roughly 1200 days of the object’s evolution. ASASSN-17jz was discovered by the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN) in the galaxy SDSS J171955.84+414049.4 on UT 2017 July 27 at a redshift ofz= 0.1641. The transient peaked at an absoluteB-band magnitude ofMB,peak= −22.81, corresponding to a bolometric luminosity ofLbol,peak= 8.3 × 1044erg s−1, and exhibited late-time ultraviolet emission that was still ongoing in our latest observations. Integrating the full light curve gives a total emitted energy ofEtot= (1.36 ±0.08) × 1052erg, with (0.80 ± 0.02) × 1052erg of this emitted within 200 days of peak light. This late-time ultraviolet emission is accompanied by increasing X-ray emission that becomes softer as it brightens. ASASSN-17jz exhibited a large number of spectral emission lines most commonly seen in active galactic nuclei (AGNs) with little evidence of evolution. It also showed transient Balmer features, which became fainter and broader over time, and are still being detected >1000 days after peak brightness. We consider various physical scenarios for the origin of the transient, including supernovae (SNe), tidal disruption events, AGN outbursts, and ANTs. We find that the most likely explanation is that ASASSN-17jz was a SN IIn occurring in or near the disk of an existing AGN, and that the late-time emission is caused by the AGN transitioning to a more active state.

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