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  1. Abstract

    Continuum reverberation mapping probes the size scale of the optical continuum-emitting region in active galactic nuclei (AGN). Through 3 yr of multiwavelength photometric monitoring in the optical with robotic observatories, we perform continuum reverberation mapping on Mrk 876. All wave bands show large-amplitude variability and are well correlated. Slow variations in the light curves broaden the cross-correlation function (CCF) significantly, requiring detrending in order to robustly recover interband lags. We measure consistent interband lags using three techniques (CCF, JAVELIN, and PyROA), with a lag of around 13 days fromutoz. These lags are longer than the expected radius of 12 days for the self-gravitating radius of the disk. The lags increase with wavelength roughly followingλ4/3, as would be expected from thin disk theory, but the lag normalization is approximately a factor of 3 longer than expected, as has also been observed in other AGN. The lag in theiband shows an excess that we attribute to variable Hαbroad-line emission. A flux–flux analysis shows a variable spectrum that followsfνλ−1/3, as expected for a disk, and an excess in theiband that also points to strong variable Hαemission in that band.

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  2. Abstract

    The broad-line region (BLR) size–luminosity relation has paramount importance for estimating the mass of black holes in active galactic nuclei (AGNs). Traditionally, the size of the HβBLR is often estimated from the optical continuum luminosity at 5100 Å, while the size of the HαBLR and its correlation with the luminosity is much less constrained. As a part of the Seoul National University AGN Monitoring Project, which provides 6 yr photometric and spectroscopic monitoring data, we present our measurements of the Hαlags of high-luminosity AGNs. Combined with the measurements for 42 AGNs from the literature, we derive the size–luminosity relations of the HαBLR against the broad Hαand 5100 Å continuum luminosities. We find the slope of the relations to be 0.61 ± 0.04 and 0.59 ± 0.04, respectively, which are consistent with the Hβsize–luminosity relation. Moreover, we find a linear relation between the 5100 Å continuum luminosity and the broad Hαluminosity across 7 orders of magnitude. Using these results, we propose a new virial mass estimator based on the Hαbroad emission line, finding that the previous mass estimates based on scaling relations in the literature are overestimated by up to 0.7 dex at masses lower than 107M.

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  3. Abstract

     We present the first results from a 100-day Swift, NICER, and ground-based X-ray–UV–optical reverberation mapping campaign of the Narrow-line Seyfert 1 Mrk 335, when it was in an unprecedented low X-ray flux state. Despite dramatic suppression of the X-ray variability, we still observe UV–optical lags as expected from disk reverberation. Moreover, the UV–optical lags are consistent with archival observations when the X-ray luminosity was >10 times higher. Interestingly, both low- and high-flux states reveal UV–optical lags that are 6–11 times longer than expected from a thin disk. These long lags are often interpreted as due to contamination from the broad line region; however theu-band excess lag (containing the Balmer jump from the diffuse continuum) is less prevalent than in other active galactic nuclei. The Swift campaign showed a low X-ray-to-optical correlation (similar to previous campaigns), but NICER and ground-based monitoring continued for another 2 weeks, during which the optical rose to the highest level of the campaign, followed ∼10 days later by a sharp rise in X-rays. While the low X-ray countrate and relatively large systematic uncertainties in the NICER background make this measurement challenging, if the optical does lead X-rays in this flare, this indicates a departure from the zeroth-order reprocessing picture. If the optical flare is due to an increase in mass accretion rate, this occurs on much shorter than the viscous timescale. Alternatively, the optical could be responding to an intrinsic rise in X-rays that is initially hidden from our line of sight.

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    We present a revised analysis of the photometric reverberation mapping campaign of the narrow-line Seyfert 1 galaxy PKS 0558 − 504 carried out with the Swift Observatory during 2008–2010. Previously, Gliozzi et al. (2013) found using the Discrete Correlation Function (DCF) method that the short-wavelength continuum variations lagged behind variations at longer wavelengths, the opposite of the trend expected for thermal reprocessing of X-rays by the accretion disc, and they interpreted their results as evidence against the reprocessing model. We carried out new DCF measurements that demonstrate that the inverted lag-wavelength relationship found by Gliozzi et al. resulted from their having interchanged the order of the driving and responding light curves when measuring the lags. To determine the inter-band lags and uncertainties more accurately, we carried out new measurements with four independent methods. These give consistent results showing time delays increasing as a function of wavelength, as expected for the disc reprocessing scenario. The slope of the re-analysed delay spectrum appears to be roughly compatible with the predicted τ ∝ λ4/3 relationship for reprocessing by an optically thick and geometrically thin accretion disc, although the data points exhibit a large scatter about the fitted power-law trend.

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    Multiwavelength variability studies of active galactic nuclei can be used to probe their inner regions that are not directly resolvable. Dust reverberation mapping (DRM) estimates the size of the dust emitting region by measuring the delays between the infrared (IR) response to variability in the optical light curves. We measure DRM lags of Zw229-015 between optical ground-based and Kepler light curves and concurrent IR Spitzer 3.6 and 4.5 µm light curves from 2010 to 2015, finding an overall mean rest-frame lag of 18.3 ± 4.5 d. Each combination of optical and IR light curve returns lags that are consistent with each other within 1σ, which implies that the different wavelengths are dominated by the same hot dust emission. The lags measured for Zw229-015 are found to be consistently smaller than predictions using the lag–luminosity relationship. Also, the overall IR response to the optical emission actually depends on the geometry and structure of the dust emitting region as well, so we use Markov chain Monte Carlo modelling to simulate the dust distribution to further estimate these structural and geometrical properties. We find that a large increase in flux between the 2011–2012 observation seasons, which is more dramatic in the IR light curve, is not well simulated by a single dust component. When excluding this increase in flux, the modelling consistently suggests that the dust is distributed in an extended flat disc, and finds a mean inclination angle of 49$^{+3}_{-13}$ deg.

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  6. Abstract

    We combine our dynamical modeling black-hole mass measurements from the Lick AGN Monitoring Project 2016 sample with measured cross-correlation time lags and line widths to recover individual scale factors,f, used in traditional reverberation-mapping analyses. We extend our sample by including prior results from Code for AGN Reverberation and Modeling of Emission Lines (caramel) studies that have utilized our methods. Aiming to improve the precision of black-hole mass estimates, as well as uncover any regularities in the behavior of the broad-line region (BLR), we search for correlations betweenfand other AGN/BLR parameters. We find (i) evidence for a correlation between the virial coefficientlog10(fmean,σ)and black-hole mass, (ii) marginal evidence for a similar correlation betweenlog10(frms,σ)and black-hole mass, (iii) marginal evidence for an anticorrelation of BLR disk thickness withlog10(fmean,FWHM)andlog10(frms,FWHM), and (iv) marginal evidence for an anticorrelation of inclination angle withlog10(fmean,FWHM),log10(frms,σ), andlog10(fmean,σ). Last, we find marginal evidence for a correlation between line-profile shape, when using the root-mean-square spectrum,log10(FWHM/σ)rms, and the virial coefficient,log10(frms,σ), and investigate how BLR properties might be related to line-profile shape usingcaramelmodels.

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  7. 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.

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  8. Abstract We present reverberation mapping measurements for the prominent ultraviolet broad emission lines of the active galactic nucleus Mrk 817 using 165 spectra obtained with the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph on the Hubble Space Telescope. Our ultraviolet observations are accompanied by X-ray, optical, and near-infrared observations as part of the AGN Space Telescope and Optical Reverberation Mapping Program 2 (AGN STORM 2). Using the cross-correlation lag analysis method, we find significant correlated variations in the continuum and emission-line light curves. We measure rest-frame delayed responses between the far-ultraviolet continuum at 1180 Å and Ly α λ 1215 Å ( 10.4 − 1.4 + 1.6 days), N v λ 1240 Å ( 15.5 − 4.8 + 1.0 days), Si iv + ]O iv λ 1397 Å ( 8.2 − 1.4 + 1.4 days), C iv λ 1549 Å ( 11.8 − 2.8 + 3.0 days), and He ii λ 1640 Å ( 9.0 − 1.9 + 4.5 days) using segments of the emission-line profile that are unaffected by absorption and blending, which results in sampling different velocity ranges for each line. However, we find that the emission-line responses to continuum variations are more complex than a simple smoothed, shifted, and scaled version of the continuum light curve. We also measure velocity-resolved lags for the Ly α and C iv emission lines. The lag profile in the blue wing of Ly α is consistent with virial motion, with longer lags dominating at lower velocities, and shorter lags at higher velocities. The C iv lag profile shows the signature of a thick rotating disk, with the shortest lags in the wings, local peaks at ±1500 km s −1 , and a local minimum at the line center. The other emission lines are dominated by broad absorption lines and blending with adjacent emission lines. These require detailed models, and will be presented in future work. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024
  9. Abstract The AGN STORM 2 Collaboration targeted the Seyfert 1 galaxy Mrk 817 for a year-long multiwavelength, coordinated reverberation mapping campaign including Hubble Space Telescope, Swift, XMM-Newton, NICER, and ground-based observatories. Early observations with NICER and XMM revealed an X-ray state 10 times fainter than historical observations, consistent with the presence of a new dust-free, ionized obscurer. The following analysis of NICER spectra attributes variability in the observed X-ray flux to changes in both the column density of the obscurer by at least one order of magnitude ( N H ranges from 2.85 − 0.33 + 0.48 × 10 22 cm − 2 to 25.6 − 3.5 + 3.0 × 10 22 cm − 2 ) and the intrinsic continuum brightness (the unobscured flux ranges from 10 −11.8 to 10 −10.5 erg s −1 cm −2 ). While the X-ray flux generally remains in a faint state, there is one large flare during which Mrk 817 returns to its historical mean flux. The obscuring gas is still present at lower column density during the flare, but it also becomes highly ionized, increasing its transparency. Correlation between the column density of the X-ray obscurer and the strength of UV broad absorption lines suggests that the X-ray and UV continua are both affected by the same obscuration, consistent with a clumpy disk wind launched from the inner broad-line region. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
  10. Abstract We perform a systematic survey of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) continuum lags using ∼3 days cadence gri -band light curves from the Zwicky Transient Facility. We select a sample of 94 type 1 AGNs at z < 0.8 with significant and consistent inter-band lags based on the interpolated cross-correlation function method and the Bayesian method JAVELIN . Within the framework of the “lamp-post” reprocessing model, our findings are: (1) The continuum emission (CE) sizes inferred from the data are larger than the disk sizes predicted by the standard thin-disk model. (2) For a subset of the sample, the CE size exceeds the theoretical limit of the self-gravity radius (12 lt-days) for geometrically thin disks. (3) The CE size scales with continuum luminosity as R CE ∝ L 0.48±0.04 with a scatter of 0.2 dex, analogous to the well-known radius–luminosity relation of broad H β . These findings suggest a significant contribution of diffuse continuum emission from the broad-line region (BLR) to AGN continuum lags. We find that the R CE – L relation can be explained by a photoionization model that assumes ∼23% of the total flux comes from the diffuse BLR emission. In addition, the ratio of the CE size and model-predicted disk size anticorrelates with the continuum luminosity, which is indicative of a potential nondisk BLR lag contribution evolving with the luminosity. Finally, a robust positive correlation between the CE size and black hole mass is detected. 
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