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  1. ABSTRACT The great power offered by photoionization models of active galactic nuclei emission line regions has long been mitigated by the fact that very little is known about the spectral energy distribution (SED) between the Lyman limit, where intervening absorption becomes a problem, and  0.3 keV, where soft X-ray observations become possible. The emission lines themselves can, to some degree, be used to probe the SED, but only in the broadest terms. This paper employs a new generation of theoretical SEDs that are internally self-consistent, energy conserving, and tested against observations, to infer properties of the emission-line regions. The SEDs are given as a function of the Eddington ratio, allowing emission-line correlations to be investigated on a fundamental basis. We apply the simplest possible tests, based on the foundations of photoionization theory, to investigate the implications for the geometry of the emission-line region. The SEDs become more far-ultraviolet bright as the Eddington ratio increases, so the equivalent widths of recombination lines should also become larger, an effect that we quantify. The observed lack of correlation between Eddington ratio and equivalent width shows that the cloud covering factor must decrease as Eddington ratio increases. This would be consistent with recent models proposingmore »that the broad-line region is a failed dusty wind off the accretion disc.« less
  2. ABSTRACT We present the first intensive continuum reverberation mapping study of the high accretion-rate Seyfert galaxy Mrk 110. The source was monitored almost daily for more than 200 d with the Swift X-ray and ultraviolet (UV)/optical telescopes, supported by ground-based observations from Las Cumbres Observatory, the Liverpool Telescope, and the Zowada Observatory, thus extending the wavelength coverage to 9100 Å. Mrk 110 was found to be significantly variable at all wavebands. Analysis of the intraband lags reveals two different behaviours, depending on the time-scale. On time-scales shorter than 10 d the lags, relative to the shortest UV waveband (∼1928 Å), increase with increasing wavelength up to a maximum of ∼2 d lag for the longest waveband (∼9100 Å), consistent with the expectation from disc reverberation. On longer time-scales, however, the g-band lags the Swift BAT hard X-rays by ∼10 d, with the z-band lagging the g-band by a similar amount, which cannot be explained in terms of simple reprocessing from the accretion disc. We interpret this result as an interplay between the emission from the accretion disc and diffuse continuum radiation from the broad-line region.
  3. Abstract We report on the development and extensive characterization of co-sputtered tantala–zirconia (Ta 2 O 5 -ZrO 2 ) thin films, with the goal to decrease coating Brownian noise in present and future gravitational-wave detectors. We tested a variety of sputtering processes of different energies and deposition rates, and we considered the effect of different values of cation ratio η = Zr/(Zr + Ta) and of post-deposition heat treatment temperature T a on the optical and mechanical properties of the films. Co-sputtered zirconia proved to be an efficient way to frustrate crystallization in tantala thin films, allowing for a substantial increase of the maximum annealing temperature and hence for a decrease of coating mechanical loss φ c . The lowest average coating loss was observed for an ion-beam sputtered sample with η = 0.485 ± 0.004 annealed at 800 °C, yielding φ ¯ c = 1.8 × 1 0 − 4 rad. All coating samples showed cracks after annealing. Although in principle our measurements are sensitive to such defects, we found no evidence that our results were affected. The issue could be solved, at least for ion-beam sputtered coatings, by decreasing heating and cooling rates down to 7 °C hmore »−1 . While we observed as little optical absorption as in the coatings of current gravitational-wave interferometers (0.5 parts per million), further development will be needed to decrease light scattering and avoid the formation of defects upon annealing.« less
  4. Abstract We have recently initiated the first spectroscopic dust reverberation programme on active galactic nuclei in the near-infrared. Spectroscopy enables measurement of dust properties, such as flux, temperature, and covering factor, with higher precision than photometry. In particular, it enables measurement of both luminosity-based dust radii and dust response times. Here we report results from a 1 yr campaign on NGC 5548. The hot dust responds to changes in the irradiating flux with a lag time of ∼70 light-days, similar to what was previously found in photometric reverberation campaigns. The mean and rms spectra are similar, implying that the same dust component dominates both the emission and the variations. The dust lag time is consistent with the luminosity-based dust radius only if we assume a wavelength-independent dust emissivity law, i.e. a blackbody, which is appropriate for grains of large sizes (of a few μm). For such grains the dust temperature is ∼1450 K. Therefore, silicate grains have most likely evaporated and carbon is the main chemical component. But the hot dust is not close to its sublimation temperature, contrary to popular belief. This is further supported by our observation of temperature variations largely consistent with a heating/cooling process. Therefore, the inner dust-free regionmore »is enlarged and the dusty torus rather a ‘dusty wall’, whose inner radius is expected to be luminosity-invariant. The dust-destruction mechanism that enlarges the dust-free region seems to also partly affect the dusty region. We observe a cyclical decrease in dust mass with implied dust reformation times of ∼5–6 months.« less