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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 notmore »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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  2. 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.

  3. 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 themore »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.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2023
  4. ABSTRACT 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.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 2, 2023
  5. Abstract In order to constrain the size of the optical continuum emission region in the dwarf Seyfert 1 galaxy NGC 4395 through reverberation mapping, we carried out high-cadence photometric monitoring in the griz filter bands on two consecutive nights in 2022 April using the four-channel MuSCAT3 camera on the Faulkes Telescope North at Haleakalā Observatory. Correlated variability across the griz bands is clearly detected, and the r -, i -, and z -band light curves show lags of 7.72 − 1.09 + 1.01 , 14.16 − 1.25 + 1.22 , and 20.78 − 2.09 + 1.99 minutes with respect to the g band when measured using the full-duration light curves. When lags are measured for each night separately, the Night 2 data exhibit lower cross-correlation amplitudes and shorter lags than the Night 1 light curves. Using the full-duration lags, we find that the lag–wavelength relationship is consistent with the τ ∝ λ 4/3 dependence found for more luminous active galactic nuclei. Combining our results with continuum lags measured for other objects, the lag between g and z band scales with optical continuum luminosity as τ gz ∝ L 0.56±0.05 , similar to the scaling of broad-line region size with luminosity,more »reinforcing recent evidence that diffuse continuum emission from the broad-line region may contribute substantially to optical continuum variability and reverberation lags.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
  9. Abstract We report the results of near-infrared spectroscopic observations of 37 quasars in the redshift range 6.3 < z ≤ 7.64, including 32 quasars at z > 6.5, forming the largest quasar near-infrared spectral sample at this redshift. The spectra, taken with Keck, Gemini, VLT, and Magellan, allow investigations of central black hole mass and quasar rest-frame ultraviolet spectral properties. The black hole masses derived from the Mg ii emission lines are in the range (0.3–3.6) × 10 9 M ⊙ , which requires massive seed black holes with masses ≳10 3 –10 4 M ⊙ , assuming Eddington accretion since z = 30. The Eddington ratio distribution peaks at λ Edd ∼ 0.8 and has a mean of 1.08, suggesting high accretion rates for these quasars. The C iv –Mg ii emission-line velocity differences in our sample show an increase of C iv blueshift toward higher redshift, but the evolutionary trend observed from this sample is weaker than the previous results from smaller samples at similar redshift. The Fe ii /Mg ii flux ratios derived for these quasars up to z = 7.6, compared with previous measurements at different redshifts, do not show any evidence of strong redshift evolution,more »suggesting metal-enriched environments in these quasars. Using this quasar sample, we create a quasar composite spectrum for z > 6.5 quasars and find no significant redshift evolution of quasar broad emission lines and continuum slope, except for a blueshift of the C iv line. Our sample yields a strong broad absorption line quasar fraction of ∼24%, higher than the fractions in lower-redshift quasar samples, although this could be affected by small sample statistics and selection effects.« less
  10. Abstract We present the first results from the ongoing, intensive, multiwavelength monitoring program of the luminous Seyfert 1 galaxy Mrk 817. While this active galactic nucleus was, in part, selected for its historically unobscured nature, we discovered that the X-ray spectrum is highly absorbed, and there are new blueshifted, broad, and narrow UV absorption lines, which suggest that a dust-free, ionized obscurer located at the inner broad-line region partially covers the central source. Despite the obscuration, we measure UV and optical continuum reverberation lags consistent with a centrally illuminated Shakura–Sunyaev thin accretion disk, and measure reverberation lags associated with the optical broad-line region, as expected. However, in the first 55 days of the campaign, when the obscuration was becoming most extreme, we observe a de-coupling of the UV continuum and the UV broad emission-line variability. The correlation recovered in the next 42 days of the campaign, as Mrk 817 entered a less obscured state. The short C iv and Ly α lags suggest that the accretion disk extends beyond the UV broad-line region.