1,169 research outputs found

    Black hole masses in active galaxies

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    This contribution reviews two topics of current interest in the study of black hole demographics in active galaxies: Can the stellar velocity dispersions of quasar host galaxies be measured? And can we constrain the black hole mass function below 10^6 M_⊙

    The Lick AGN Monitoring Project 2011: Reverberation Mapping of Markarian 50

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    The Lick AGN Monitoring Project 2011 observing campaign was carried out over the course of 11 weeks in spring 2011. Here we present the first results from this program, a measurement of the broad-line reverberation lag in the Seyfert 1 galaxy Mrk 50. Combining our data with supplemental observations obtained prior to the start of the main observing campaign, our data set covers a total duration of 4.5 months. During this time, Mrk 50 was highly variable, exhibiting a maximum variability amplitude of a factor of ~4 in the U-band continuum and a factor of ~2 in the Hβ line. Using standard cross-correlation techniques, we find that Hβ and Hγ lag the V-band continuum by τ_(cen) = 10.64^(+0.82)_(–0.93) and 8.43^(+1.30)_(–1.28) days, respectively, while the lag of He II λ4686 is unresolved. The Hβ line exhibits a symmetric velocity-resolved reverberation signature with shorter lags in the high-velocity wings than in the line core, consistent with an origin in a broad-line region (BLR) dominated by orbital motion rather than infall or outflow. Assuming a virial normalization factor of f = 5.25, the virial estimate of the black hole mass is (3.2 ± 0.5) × 10^7 M_☉. These observations demonstrate that Mrk 50 is among the most promising nearby active galaxies for detailed investigations of BLR structure and dynamics

    The Carnegie-Irvine Galaxy Survey. V. Statistical study of bars and buckled bars

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    Simulations have shown that bars are subject to a vertical buckling instability that transforms thin bars into boxy or peanut-shaped structures, but the physical conditions necessary for buckling to occur are not fully understood. We use the large sample of local disk galaxies in the Carnegie-Irvine Galaxy Survey to examine the incidence of bars and buckled bars across the Hubble sequence. Depending on the disk inclination angle (ii), a buckled bar reveals itself as either a boxy/peanut-shaped bulge (at high ii) or as a barlens structure (at low ii). We visually identify bars, boxy/peanut-shaped bulges, and barlenses, and examine the dependence of bar and buckled bar fractions on host galaxy properties, including Hubble type, stellar mass, color, and gas mass fraction. We find that the barred and unbarred disks show similar distributions in these physical parameters. The bar fraction is higher (70\%--80\%) in late-type disks with low stellar mass (M<1010.5MM_{*} < 10^{10.5}\, M_{\odot}) and high gas mass ratio. In contrast, the buckled bar fraction increases to 80\% toward massive and early-type disks (M>1010.5MM_{*} > 10^{10.5}\, M_{\odot}), and decreases with higher gas mass ratio. These results suggest that bars are more difficult to grow in massive disks that are dynamically hotter than low-mass disks. However, once a bar forms, it can easily buckle in the massive disks, where a deeper potential can sustain the vertical resonant orbits. We also find a probable buckling bar candidate (ESO 506-G004) that could provide further clues to understand the timescale of the buckling process.Comment: 9 pages, 7 figures, 2 tables. Accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journa

    On the Virialization of Disk Winds: Implications for the Black Hole Mass Estimates in AGN

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    Estimating the mass of a supermassive black hole (SMBH) in an active galactic nucleus (AGN) usually relies on the assumption that the broad line region (BLR) is virialized. However, this assumption seems invalid in BLR models that consists of an accretion disk and its wind. The disk is likely Keplerian and therefore virialized. However, the wind material must, beyond a certain point, be dominated by an outward force that is stronger than gravity. Here, we analyze hydrodynamic simulations of four different disk winds: an isothermal wind, a thermal wind from an X-ray heated disk, and two line-driven winds, one with and the other without X-ray heating and cooling. For each model, we check whether gravity governs the flow properties, by computing and analyzing the volume-integrated quantities that appear in the virial theorem: internal, kinetic, and gravitational energies, We find that in the first two models, the winds are non-virialized whereas the two line-driven disk winds are virialized up to a relatively large distance. The line-driven winds are virialized because they accelerate slowly so that the rotational velocity is dominant and the wind base is very dense. For the two virialized winds, the so-called projected virial factor scales with inclination angle as 1/sin2i1/ \sin^2{i}. Finally, we demonstrate that an outflow from a Keplerian disk becomes unvirialized more slowly when it conserves the gas specific angular momentum -- as in the models considered here, than when it conserves the angular velocity -- as in the so-called magneto-centrifugal winds.Comment: Accepted to Ap

    The M87 Black Hole Mass From Gas-Dynamical Models Of Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph Observations

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    The supermassive black hole of M87 is one of the most massive black holes known and has been the subject of several stellar and gas-dynamical mass measurements; however, the most recent revision to the stellar-dynamical black hole mass measurement is a factor of about two larger than the previous gas-dynamical determinations. Here, we apply comprehensive gas-dynamical models that include the propagation of emission-line profiles through the telescope and spectrograph optics to new Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph observations from the Hubble Space Telescope. Unlike the previous gas-dynamical studies of M87, we map out the complete kinematic structure of the emission-line disk within similar to 40 pc from the nucleus, and find that a small amount of velocity dispersion internal to the gas disk is required to match the observed line widths. We examine a scenario in which the intrinsic velocity dispersion provides dynamical support to the disk, and determine that the inferred black hole mass increases by only 6%. Incorporating this effect into the error budget, we ultimately measure a mass of M-BH = (3.5(-0.7)(+0.9)) x 10(9)M circle dot (68% confidence). Our gas-dynamical black hole mass continues to differ from the most recent stellar-dynamical mass by a factor of two, underscoring the need for carrying out more cross-checks between the two main black hole mass measurement methods.NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship 1102845Space Telescope Science Institute 12162NASA NAS 5-26555NSF AST-1108835Astronom

    Physical Properties of the Narrow-Line Region of Low-Mass Active Galaxies

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    We present spectroscopic observations of 27 active galactic nuclei (AGN) with some of the lowest black hole (BH) masses known. We use the high spectral resolution and small aperture of our Keck data, taken with the Echellette Spectrograph and Imager, to isolate the narrow-line regions (NLRs) of these low-mass BHs. We investigate their emission-line properties and compare them with those of AGN with higher-mass black holes. While we are unable to determine absolute metallicities, some of our objects plausibly represent examples of the low-metallicity AGN described by Groves et al. (2006), based on their [N II]/H_alpha ratios and their consistency with the Kewley & Ellison (2008) mass-metallicity relation. We find tentative evidence for steeper far-UV spectral slopes in lower-mass systems. Overall, NLR emission lines in these low-mass AGN exhibit trends similar to those seen in AGN with higher-mass BHs, such as increasing blueshifts and broadening with increasing ionization potential. Additionally, we see evidence of an intermediate line region whose intensity correlates with L/L_Edd, as seen in higher-mass AGN. We highlight the interesting trend that, at least in these low-mass AGN, the [O III] equivalent width (EW) is highest in symmetric NLR lines with no blue wing. This trend of increasing [O III] EW with line symmetry could be explained by a high covering factor of lower ionization gas in the NLR. In general, low-mass AGN preserve many well-known trends in the structure of the NLR, while exhibiting steeper ionizing continuum slopes and somewhat lower gas-phase metallicities.Comment: 46 pages, 14 figures, 7 table

    Feedback In Luminous Obscured Quasars

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    We use spatially resolved long-slit spectroscopy from Magellan to investigate the extent, kinematics, and ionization structure in the narrow-line regions of 15 luminous, obscured quasars with z < 0.5. Increasing the dynamic range in luminosity by an order of magnitude, as well as improving the depth of existing observations by a similar factor, we revisit relations between narrow-line region size and the luminosity and linewidth of the narrow emission lines. We find a slope of 0.22 +/- 0.04 for the power-law relationship between size and luminosity, suggesting that the nebulae are limited by availability of gas to ionize at these luminosities. In fact, we find that the active galactic nucleus is effectively ionizing the interstellar medium over the full extent of the host galaxy. Broad (similar to 300-1000 km s(-1)) linewidths across the galaxies reveal that the gas is kinematically disturbed. Furthermore, the rotation curves and velocity dispersions of the ionized gas remain constant out to large distances, in striking contrast to normal and starburst galaxies. We argue that the gas in the entire host galaxy is significantly disturbed by the central active galactic nucleus. While only similar to 10(7)-10(8) M-circle dot worth of gas are directly observed to be leaving the host galaxies at or above their escape velocities, these estimates are likely lower limits because of the biases in both mass and outflow velocity measurements and may in fact be in accord with expectations of recent feedback models. Additionally, we report the discovery of two dual obscured quasars, one of which is blowing a large-scale (similar to 10 kpc) bubble of ionized gas into the intergalactic medium.NSF AST-0548198Astronom

    Stellar Photometric Structures of the Host Galaxies of Nearby Type 1 Active Galactic Nuclei

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    We present detailed image analysis of rest-frame optical images of 235 low-redshift (zz \leq 0.35) type 1 active galactic nuclei (AGNs) observed with the Hubble Space Telescope. The high-resolution images enable us to perform rigorous two-dimensional image modeling to decouple the luminous central point source from the host galaxy, which, when warranted, is further decomposed into its principal structural components (bulge, bar, and disk). In many cases, care must be taken to account for structural complexities such as spiral arms, tidal features, and overlapping or interacting companion galaxies. We employ Fourier modes to characterize the degree of asymmetry of the light distribution of the stars, as a quantitative measure of morphological distortion due to interactions or mergers. We examine the dependence of the physical parameters of the host galaxies on the properties of the AGNs, namely radio-loudness and the width of the broad emission lines. In accordance with previous studies, narrow-line (Hβ\beta FWHM 2000\leq 2000 km~s1^{-1}) type 1 AGNs, in contrast to their broad-line (Hβ\beta FWHM >2000> 2000 km~s1^{-1}) counterparts, are preferentially hosted in later type, lower luminosity galaxies, which have a higher incidence of pseudo-bulges, are more frequently barred, and are less morphologically disturbed. This suggests narrow-line type 1 AGNs experienced a more quiescent evolutionary history driven primarily by internal secular evolution instead of external dynamical perturbations. The fraction of AGN hosts showing merger signatures is larger for more luminous sources. Radio-loud AGNs generally preferentially live in earlier type (bulge-dominated), more massive hosts, although a minority of them appears to contain a significant disk component. We do not find convincing evidence for enhanced merger signatures in the radio-loud population.Comment: Published in ApJ
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