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Variability and Multiwavelength Detected AGN in the GOODS Fields

By Vicki L. Sarajedini, David C. Koo, Alison J. Klesman, Elise S. Laird, Pablo G. Perez Gonzalez and Mark Mozena


We identify 85 variable galaxies in the GOODS North and South fields using 5 epochs of HST ACS V-band (F606W) images spanning 6 months. The variables are identified through significant flux changes in the galaxy's nucleus and represent ~2% of the survey galaxies. With the aim of studying the active galaxy population in the GOODS fields, we compare the variability-selected sample with X-ray and mid-IR AGN candidates. Forty-nine percent of the variables are associated with X-ray sources identified in the 2Ms Chandra surveys. Twenty-four percent of X-ray sources likely to be AGN are optical variables and this percentage increases with decreasing hardness ratio of the X-ray emission. Stacking of the non-X-ray detected variables reveals marginally significant soft X-ray emission. Forty-eight percent of mid-IR power-law sources are optical variables, all but one of which are also X-ray detected. Thus, about half of the optical variables are associated with either X-ray or mid-IR power-law emission. The slope of the power-law fit through the Spitzer IRAC bands indicates that two-thirds of the variables have BLAGN-like SEDs. Among those galaxies spectroscopically identified as AGN, we observe variability in 74% of broad-line AGNs and 15% of NLAGNs. The variables are found in galaxies extending to z~3.6. We compare the variable galaxy colors and magnitudes to the X-ray and mid-IR sample and find that the non-X-ray detected variable hosts extend to bluer colors and fainter intrinsic magnitudes. The variable AGN candidates have Eddington ratios similar to those of X-ray selected AGN.Comment: 36 pages, 12 figures, ApJ accepte

Topics: Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies, Astrophysics - Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1088/0004-637X/731/2/97
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