17 research outputs found

    Torus skin outflow in a near-Eddington quasar revealed by spectropolarimetry

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    Even when the direct view toward the active nucleus is obscured, nuclear emission propagating along other directions can scatter off surrounding material, become polarized and reach the observer. Spectropolarimetry can thus be an important tool in investigating the circumnuclear geometry and kinematics of quasars on scales that cannot yet be probed via direct observations. Here we discuss an intriguing class of quasars where the polarization position angle swings by large amounts (90 deg) within an emission line. We investigate a kinematic model in which the scattering dust or electrons are in an axisymmetric outflow. We propagate Stokes parameters in a variety of geometries of emitter, scatterer and observer. We use these models to predict polarization fraction, line profiles and polarization position angles and compare them to observations. We demonstrate that the swinging polarization angle can be a result of the geometry of the outflow and the orientation of the observer. Polarization properties of a near-Eddington extremely red quasar SDSS J1652 can be successfully explained by a model in which the quasar is surrounded by a geometrically thick disk, whose `skin' is outflowing at 1000 km/s and acts as the scatterer on scales of a few tens of pc. The line of sight to the observer in this source is within or close to the skin of the torus, in agreement with multi-wavelength data. Spectropolarimetric data and models presented here strongly support the thick-disk geometry of circumnuclear material suggested by recent numerical simulations of high-rate accretion flows onto black holes.Comment: 17 pages, accepted to MNRA

    Sensitive Radio Survey of Obscured Quasar Candidates

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    We study the radio properties of moderately obscured quasars over a range of redshifts to understand the role of radio activity in accretion using the Jansky Very Large Array (JVLA) at 6.0GHz and 1.4GHz. Our z~2.5 sample consists of optically-selected obscured quasar candidates, all of which are radio-quiet, with typical radio luminosities of ÎœLÎœ\nu L_{\nu}[1.4 GHz] < 104010^{40} erg s−1^{-1}. Only a single source is individually detected in our deep (rms~10 ÎŒ\muJy) exposures. This population would not be identified by radio-based selection methods used for distinguishing dusty star-forming galaxies and obscured active nuclei. In our pilot A-array study of z~0.5 radio-quiet quasars, we spatially resolve four of five objects on scales ~ 5 kpc and find they have steep spectral indices. Therefore, radio emission in these sources could be due to jet-driven or radiatively driven bubbles interacting with interstellar material on the scale of the host galaxy. Finally, we also study the population of ~ 200 faint (~40 ÎŒ\muJy - 40 mJy) radio sources observed over ~ 120 arcmin2^2 of our data. 60% of these detections are matched in the SDSS and/or WISE and are, in roughly equal shares, active nuclei at a broad range of redshifts, passive galaxies with no other signs of nuclear activity and IR-bright but optically faint sources. Spectroscopically or photometrically confirmed star-forming galaxies constitute only a small minority of the matches. Such sensitive radio surveys allow us to address important questions of AGN evolution and evaluate the AGN contribution to the radio-quiet sky.Comment: 18 pages, submitted to MNRA

    Winds as the origin of radio emission in z=2.5z=2.5 radio-quiet extremely red quasars

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    Most active galactic nuclei (AGNs) are radio-quiet, and the origin of their radio emission is not well-understood. One hypothesis is that this radio emission is a by-product of quasar-driven winds. In this paper, we present the radio properties of 108 extremely red quasars (ERQs) at z=2−4z=2-4. ERQs are among the most luminous quasars (Lbol∌1047−48L_{bol} \sim 10^{47-48} erg/s) in the Universe, with signatures of extreme (≫1000\gg 1000 km/s) outflows in their [OIII]λ\lambda5007 \AA\ emission, making them the best subjects to seek the connection between radio and outflow activity. All ERQs but one are unresolved in the radio on ∌10\sim 10 kpc scales, and the median radio luminosity of ERQs is ÎœLÎœ[6 GHz]=1041.0\nu L_\nu [{\rm 6\,GHz}] = 10^{41.0} erg/s, in the radio-quiet regime, but one to two orders of magnitude higher than that of other quasar samples. The radio spectra are steep, with a mean spectral index ⟚α⟩=−1.0\langle \alpha \rangle = -1.0. In addition, ERQs neatly follow the extrapolation of the low-redshift correlation between radio luminosity and the velocity dispersion of [OIII]-emitting ionized gas. Uncollimated winds, with a power of one per cent of the bolometric luminosity, can account for all these observations. Such winds would interact with and shock the gas around the quasar and in the host galaxy, resulting in acceleration of relativistic particles and the consequent synchrotron emission observed in the radio. Our observations support the picture in which ERQs are signposts of extremely powerful episodes of quasar feedback, and quasar-driven winds as a contributor of the radio emission in the intermediate regime of radio luminosity ÎœLÎœ=1039−1042\nu L_\nu = 10^{39}-10^{42} erg/s.Comment: accepted by MNRA

    High-redshift Extremely Red Quasars in X-Rays

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    Quasars may have played a key role in limiting the stellar mass of massive galaxies. Identifying those quasars in the process of removing star formation fuel from their hosts is an exciting ongoing challenge in extragalactic astronomy. In this paper, we present X-ray observations of 11 extremely red quasars (ERQs) with L bol ~ 1047 erg s−1 at z = 1.5–3.2 with evidence for high-velocity (v â©Ÿ\geqslant 1000 km s−1) [O iii] λ5007 outflows. X-rays allow us to directly probe circumnuclear obscuration and to measure the instantaneous accretion luminosity. We detect 10 out of 11 ERQs available in targeted and archival data. Using a combination of X-ray spectral fitting and hardness ratios, we find that all of the ERQs show signs of absorption in the X-rays with inferred column densities of N H ≈ 1023 cm−2, including four Compton-thick candidates (N H â©Ÿ\geqslant 1024 cm−2). We stack the X-ray emission of the seven weakly detected sources, measuring an average column density of N H ~ 8 × 1023 cm−2. The absorption-corrected (intrinsic) 2–10 keV X-ray luminosity of the stack is 2.7 × 1045 erg s−1, consistent with X-ray luminosities of type 1 quasars of the same infrared luminosity. Thus, we find that ERQs are a highly obscured, borderline Compton-thick population, and based on optical and infrared data we suggest that these objects are partially hidden by their own equatorial outflows. However, unlike some quasars with known outflows, ERQs do not appear to be intrinsically underluminous in X-rays for their bolometric luminosity. Our observations indicate that low X-rays are not necessary to enable some types of radiatively driven winds

    The Hunt for Red Quasars : Luminous Obscured Black Hole Growth Unveiled in the Stripe 82 X-Ray Survey

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    We present results of a ground-based near-infrared campaign with Palomar TripleSpec, Keck NIRSPEC, and Gemini GNIRS to target two samples of reddened active galactic nucleus (AGN) candidates from the 31 deg(2) Stripe 82 X-ray survey. One sample, which is similar to 89% complete to K 4, Vega). The fainter sample (K > 17, Vega) represents a pilot program to follow-up four sources from a parent sample of 34 that are not detected in the single-epoch SDSS catalog and have WISE quasar colors. All 12 sources are broad-line AGNs (at least one permitted emission line has an FWHM exceeding 1300 km s(-1)) and span a redshift range 0.59 0.5), and a greater percentage have high X-ray luminosities (L-X,L- full > 10(44) erg s(-1)). Such outflows and high luminosities may be consistent with the paradigm that reddened broad-line AGNs represent a transitory phase in AGN evolution as described by the major merger model for black hole growth. Results from our pilot program demonstrate proof of concept that our selection technique is successful in discovering reddened quasars at z > 1 missed by optical surveys.Peer reviewe

    The Ninth Data Release of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey: First Spectroscopic Data from the SDSS-III Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey

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    The Sloan Digital Sky Survey III (SDSS-III) presents the first spectroscopic data from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS). This ninth data release (DR9) of the SDSS project includes 535,995 new galaxy spectra (median z=0.52), 102,100 new quasar spectra (median z=2.32), and 90,897 new stellar spectra, along with the data presented in previous data releases. These spectra were obtained with the new BOSS spectrograph and were taken between 2009 December and 2011 July. In addition, the stellar parameters pipeline, which determines radial velocities, surface temperatures, surface gravities, and metallicities of stars, has been updated and refined with improvements in temperature estimates for stars with T_eff<5000 K and in metallicity estimates for stars with [Fe/H]>-0.5. DR9 includes new stellar parameters for all stars presented in DR8, including stars from SDSS-I and II, as well as those observed as part of the SDSS-III Sloan Extension for Galactic Understanding and Exploration-2 (SEGUE-2). The astrometry error introduced in the DR8 imaging catalogs has been corrected in the DR9 data products. The next data release for SDSS-III will be in Summer 2013, which will present the first data from the Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE) along with another year of data from BOSS, followed by the final SDSS-III data release in December 2014.Comment: 9 figures; 2 tables. Submitted to ApJS. DR9 is available at http://www.sdss3.org/dr

    Spectropolarimetry of high-redshift obscured and red quasars

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    Spectropolarimetry is a powerful technique that has provided critical support for the geometric unification model of local active galactic nuclei. In this paper, we present optical (rest-frame UV) Keck spectropolarimetry of five luminous obscured (Type 2) and extremely red quasars (ERQs) at z~2.5. Three objects reach polarization fractions of >10% in the continuum. We propose a model in which dust scattering is the dominant scattering and polarization mechanism in our targets, though electron scattering cannot be completely excluded. Emission lines are polarized at a lower level than is the continuum. This suggests that the emission-line region exists on similar spatial scales as the scattering region. In three objects we detect an intriguing 90 degree swing in the polarization position angle as a function of line-of-sight velocity in the emission lines of Ly-alpha, CIV and NV. We interpret this phenomenon in the framework of a geometric model with an equatorial dusty scattering region in which the material is outflowing at several thousand km/sec. Emission lines may also be scattered by dust or resonantly. This model explains several salient features of observations by scattering on scales of a few tens of pc. Our observations provide a tantalizing view of the inner region geometry and kinematics of high-redshift obscured and extremely red quasars. Our data and modeling lend strong support for toroidal obscuration and powerful outflows on the scales of the UV emission-line region, in addition to the larger scale outflows inferred previously from the optical emission-line kinematics.Comment: 26 pages, MNRAS, in pres
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