1,064 research outputs found

    Narrow-Line Seyfert 1 Galaxies

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    I provide a short review of the properties of Narrow-line Seyfert 1 (NLS1) galaxies across the electromagnetic spectrum and of the models to explain them. Their continuum and emission-line properties manifest one extreme form of Seyfert activity. As such, NLS1 galaxies may hold important clues to the key parameters that drive nuclear activity. Their high accretion rates close to the Eddington rate provide new insight into accretion physics, their low black hole masses and perhaps young ages allow us to address issues of black hole growth, their strong optical FeII emission places strong constraints on FeII and perhaps metal formation models and physical conditions in these emission-line clouds, and their enhanced radio quiteness permits a fresh look at causes of radio loudness and the radio-loud radio-quiet bimodality in AGN.Comment: To appear in the proceedings of "The nuclear region, host galaxy and environment of AGN", E. Benitez, I. Cruz-Gonzalez & Y. Krongold (eds), RevMexA

    Recoiling black holes: electromagnetic signatures, candidates, and astrophysical implications

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    Supermassive black holes (SMBHs) may not always reside right at the centers of their host galaxies. This is a prediction of numerical relativity simulations, which imply that the newly formed single SMBH, after binary coalescence in a galaxy merger, can receive kick velocities up to several 1000 km/s due to anisotropic emission of gravitational waves. Long-lived oscillations of the SMBHs in galaxy cores, and in rare cases even SMBH ejections from their host galaxies, are the consequence. Observationally, accreting recoiling SMBHs would appear as quasars spatially and/or kinematically off-set from their host galaxies. The presence of the "kicks" has a wide range of astrophysical implications which only now are beginning to be explored, including consequences for black hole and galaxy assembly at the epoch of structure formation, black hole feeding, and unified models of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN). Here, we review the observational signatures of recoiling SMBHs and the properties of the first candidates which have emerged, including follow-up studies of the candidate recoiling SMBH of SDSSJ092712.65+294344.0.Comment: 10 pages, Advances in Astronomy 2012, one chapter of the special issue "Seeking for the Leading Actor on the Cosmic Stage: Galaxies versus Supermassive Black Holes

    Tidal disruption of stars by supermassive black holes: Status of observations

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    Stars in the immediate vicinity of supermassive black holes (SMBHs) can be ripped apart by the tidal forces of the black hole. The subsequent accretion of the stellar material causes a spectacular flare of electromagnetic radiation. Here, we provide a review of the observations of tidal disruption events (TDEs), with an emphasis on the important contributions of Swift to this field. TDEs represent a new probe of matter under strong gravity, and have opened up a new window into studying accretion physics under extreme conditions. The events probe relativistic effects, provide a new means of measuring black hole spin, and represent signposts of intermediate-mass BHs, binary BHs and recoiling BHs. Luminous, high-amplitude X-ray flares, matching key predictions of the tidal disruption scenario, have first been discovered with ROSAT, and more recently with other missions and in other wavebands. The Swift discovery of two gamma-ray emitting, jetted TDEs, never seen before, has provided us with a unique probe of the early phases of jet formation and evolution, and SwiftJ1644+75 has the best covered lightcurve of any TDE to date. Further, Swift has made important contributions in providing well-covered lightcurves of TDEs discovered with other instruments, setting constraints on the physics that govern the TDE evolution, and including the discovery of the first candidate binary SMBH identified from a TDE lightcurve.Comment: Review, 12 pages, to appear in Journal of High-Energy Astrophysics. Proceedings (review contributions) of "Swift: 10 years of discovery

    Follow-Up Chandra Observations of Three Candidate Tidal Disruption Events

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    Large-amplitude, high-luminosity soft X-ray flares were detected by the ROSAT All-Sky Survey in several galaxies with no evidence of Seyfert activity in their ground-based optical spectra. These flares had the properties predicted for a tidal disruption of a star by a central supermassive black hole. We report Chandra observations of three of these galaxies taken a decade after their flares that reveal weak nuclear X-ray sources that are from 240 to 6000 times fainter than their luminosities at peak, supporting the theory that these were special events and not ongoing active galactic nucleus (AGN) variability. The decline of RX J1624.9+7554 by a factor of 6000 is consistent with the (t-t_D)^(-5/3) decay predicted for the fall-back phase of a tidal disruption event, but only if ROSAT was lucky enough to catch the event exactly at its peak in 1990 October. RX J1242.6-1119A has declined by a factor of 240, also consistent with (t-t_D)^(-5/3). In the H II galaxy NGC 5905 we find only resolved, soft X-ray emission that is undoubtedly associated with starburst activity. When accounting for the starburst component, the ROSAT observations of NGC 5905, as well as the Chandra upper limit on its nuclear flux, are consistent with a (t-t_D)^(-5/3) decay by at least a factor of 1000. Although we found weak Seyfert~2 emission lines in Hubble Space Telescope spectra of NGC 5905, indicating that a low-luminosity AGN was present prior to the X-ray flare, we favor a tidal disruption explanation for the flare itself.Comment: 17 pages, 4 figures, to appear in ApJ April 1 200

    Narrow double-peaked emission lines of SDSS J131642.90+175332.5: signature of a single or a binary AGN in a merger, jet-cloud interaction, or unusual narrow-line region geometry

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    We present an analysis of the active galaxy SDSS J131642.90+175332.5, which is remarkable because all of its narrow emission lines are double-peaked, and because it additionally shows an extra broad component (FHWM ~ 1400 km/s) in most of its forbidden lines, peaking in between the two narrow systems. The peaks of the two narrow systems are separated by 400--500 km/s in velocity space. The spectral characteristics of double-peaked [O III] emission have previously been interpreted as a signature of dual or binary active galactic nuclei (AGNs), among other models. In the context of the binary scenario, SDSS J131642.90+175332.5 is a particularly good candidate because not just one line but all of its emission lines are double-peaked. However, we also discuss a number of other scenarios which can potentially account for double-peaked narrow emission lines, including projection effects, a two-sided outflow, jet-cloud interactions, special narrow-line region (NLR) geometries (disks, bars, or inner spirals), and a galaxy merger with only one AGN illuminating two NLRs. We argue that the similarity of the emission-line ratios in both systems, and the presence of the very unusual broad component at intermediate velocity, makes a close pair of unrelated AGNs unlikely, and rather argues for processes in a single galaxy or merger. We describe future observations which can distinguish between these remaining possibilities.Comment: ApJ Letters, 705, L20-L24, 2009 (November 1 issue); incl. 2 colour figure

    Mkn 1239: A highly polarized NLS1 with a steep X-ray spectrum and strong NeIX emission

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    We report the results of an XMM-Newton observation of the Narrow-Line Seyfert 1 galaxy Mkn 1239. This optically highly polarized AGN has one of the steepest X-ray spectra found in AGN with alpha-X = +3.0 based on ROSAT PSPC data. The XMM-Newton EPIC PN and MOS data confirm this steep X-ray spectrum. The PN data are best-fit by a powerlaw with a partial covering absorption model suggesting two light paths between the continuum source and the observer, one indirect scattered one which is less absorbed and a highly absorbed direct light path. This result agrees with the wavelength dependent degree of polarization in the optical/UV band. Residuals in the X-ray spectra of all three XMM-Newton EPIC detectors around 0.9 keV suggest the presence of an emission line feature, most likely the Ne IX triplet. The detection of NeIX and the non-detection of OVII/OVIII suggest a super-solar Ne/O ratio.Comment: Submitted to Aj, 11 pages, 8 figue
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