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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

    We performed a rigorous reverberation-mapping analysis of the broad-line region (BLR) in a highly accreting (L/LEdd= 0.74–3.4) active galactic nucleus, Markarian 142 (Mrk 142), for the first time using concurrent observations of the inner accretion disk and the BLR to determine a time lag for the Hβλ4861 emission relative to the ultraviolet (UV) continuum variations. We used continuum data taken with the Niel Gehrels Swift Observatory in theUVW2 band, and the Las Cumbres Observatory, Dan Zowada Memorial Observatory, and Liverpool Telescope in thegband, as part of the broader Mrk 142 multiwavelength monitoring campaign in 2019. We obtained new spectroscopic observations covering the Hβbroad emission line in the optical from the Gemini North Telescope and the Lijiang 2.4 m Telescope for a total of 102 epochs (over a period of 8 months) contemporaneous to the continuum data. Our primary result states a UV-to-Hβtime lag of8.680.72+0.75days in Mrk 142 obtained from light-curve analysis with a Python-based running optimal average algorithm. We placed our new measurements for Mrk 142 on the optical and UV radius–luminosity relations for NGC 5548 to understand the nature of the continuum driver. The positions of Mrk 142 on the scaling relations suggest that UV is closer to the “true” driving continuum than the optical. Furthermore, we obtainlog(M/M)= 6.32 ± 0.29 assuming UV as the primary driving continuum.

     
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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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  4. ABSTRACT

    We have measured the wavelength-dependent lags between the X-ray, ultraviolet, and optical bands in the high-accretion rate ($L/L_{\rm Edd}\approx 40{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$) active galactic nucleus (AGN) Mrk 110 during two intensive monitoring campaigns in February and September 2019. After including the 2017 data published by Vincentelli et al., we divided the observations into three intervals with different X-ray luminosities. The first interval has the lowest X-ray luminosity and did not exhibit the U-band excess positive lag, or the X-ray excess negative lag that is seen in most AGNs. However, these excess lags are seen in the two subsequent intervals of higher X-ray luminosity. Although the data are limited, the excess lags appear to scale with X-ray luminosity. Our modelling shows that lags expected from reprocessing of X-rays by the accretion disc vary hardly at all with increasing luminosity. Therefore, as the U-band excess almost certainly arises from Balmer-continuum emission from the broad-line region (BLR), we attribute these lag changes to changes in the contribution from the BLR. The change is easily explained by the usual increase in the inner radius of the BLR with increasing ionizing luminosity.

     
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  5. Abstract

    In recent years, continuum-reverberation mapping involving high-cadence UV/optical monitoring campaigns of nearby active galactic nuclei has been used to infer the size of their accretion disks. One of the main results from these campaigns has been that in many cases the accretion disks appear too large, by a factor of 2–3, compared to standard models. Part of this may be due to diffuse continuum emission from the broad-line region (BLR), which is indicated by excess lags around the Balmer jump. Standard cross-correlation lag-analysis techniques are usually used to just recover the peak or centroid lag and cannot easily distinguish between reprocessing from the disk and BLR. However, frequency-resolved lag analysis, where the lag is determined at each Fourier frequency, has the potential to separate out reprocessing on different size scales. Here we present simulations to demonstrate the potential of this method and then apply a maximum-likelihood approach to determine frequency-resolved lags in NGC 5548. We find that the lags in NGC 5548 generally decrease smoothly with increasing frequency, and are not easily described by accretion-disk reprocessing alone. The standard cross-correlation lags are consistent with lags at frequencies lower than 0.1 day−1, indicating they are dominated from reprocessing at size scales greater than ∼10 light days. A combination of a more distant reprocessor, consistent with the BLR, along with a standard-sized accretion disk is more consistent with the observed lags than a larger disk alone.

     
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  6. UV and optical continuum reverberation mapping is a powerful tool for probing the accretion disk and inner broad-line region. However, recent reverberation mapping campaigns in the X-ray, UV, and optical have found lags consistently longer than those expected from the standard disk reprocessing picture. The largest discrepancy to date was recently reported in Mrk 335, where UV/optical lags are up to 12 times longer than expected. Here, we perform a frequency-resolved time lag analysis of Mrk 335, using Gaussian processes to account for irregular sampling. For the first time, we compare the Fourier frequency-resolved lags directly to those computed using the popular interpolated cross-correlation function method applied to both the original and detrended light curves. We show that the anticipated disk reverberation lags are recovered by the Fourier lags when zeroing in on the short-timescale variability. This suggests that a separate variability component is present on long timescales. If this separate component is modeled as reverberation from another region beyond the accretion disk, we constrain a size scale of roughly 15 lt-days from the central black hole. This is consistent with the size of the broad-line region inferred from Hβreverberation lags. We also find tentative evidence for a soft X-ray lag, which we propose may be due to light travel time delays between the hard X-ray corona and distant photoionized gas that dominates the soft X-ray spectrum below 2 keV. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 22, 2024
  7. 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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  8. 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 ranging 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. 
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  9. 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. 
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  10. null (Ed.)
    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. 
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