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Title: iPTF Discovery of the Rapid “Turn-on” of a Luminous Quasar

Abstract

We present a radio-quiet quasar at z = 0.237 discovered "turning on" by the intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF). The transient, iPTF 16bco, was detected by iPTF in the nucleus of a galaxy with an archival Sloan Digital Sky Survey spectrum with weak narrow-line emission characteristic of a low-ionization nuclear emission-line region (LINER). Our follow-up spectra show the dramatic appearance of broad Balmer lines and a power-law continuum characteristic of a luminous ( L bol ≈ 10 45 erg s -1) type 1 quasar 12 yr later. Our photometric monitoring with PTF from 2009-2012 and serendipitous X-ray observations from the XMM-Newton Slew Survey in 2011 and 2015 constrain the change of state to have occurred less than 500 days before the iPTF detection. An enhanced broad Hα/[O iii] λ5007 line ratio in the type 1 state relative to other changing-look quasars also is suggestive of the most rapid change of state yet observed in a quasar. Here, we argue that the > 10 increase in Eddington ratio inferred from the brightening in UV and X-ray continuum flux is more likely due to an intrinsic change in the accretion rate of a preexisting accretion disk than an external mechanism such asmore » variable obscuration, microlensing, or the tidal disruption of a star. However, further monitoring will be helpful in better constraining the mechanism driving this change of state. The rapid "turn-on" of the quasar is much shorter than the viscous infall timescale of an accretion disk and requires a disk instability that can develop around a ~ 10 8 M black hole on timescales less than 1 yr.« less

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [2]; ORCiD logo [3];  [4]; ORCiD logo [5]; ORCiD logo [4]; ORCiD logo [6];  [7];  [8]; ORCiD logo [9]; ORCiD logo [10]; ORCiD logo [11]; ORCiD logo [4]; ORCiD logo [9]; ORCiD logo [12];  [13]
  1. Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD (United States). Dept. of Astronomy; Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD (United States). Joint Space-Science Inst.
  2. Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD (United States). Dept. of Astronomy
  3. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), Greenbelt, MD (United States); Univ. of Maryland, College Park, MD (United States). Joint Space-Science Inst.
  4. California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States). Dept. of Astronomy
  5. California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States). Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Caltech Optical Observatories; California Inst. of Technology (CalTech), Pasadena, CA (United States). Infrared Processing and Analysis Center
  6. Univ. of Oxford (United Kingdom). Dept. of Astrophysics, Dept. of Physics
  7. National Tsing Hua Univ., Hsinchu (Taiwan). Inst. of Astronomy
  8. Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, Manchester (United Kingdom)
  9. National Central Univ., Taoyuan City (Taiwan). Graduate Inst. of Astronomy
  10. Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA (United States). eScience Inst. and Astronomy Dept.
  11. Stockholm Univ. (Sweden). Oskar Klein Center, Dept. of Astronomy
  12. Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA (United States). Dept. of Astronomy; Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  13. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC); National Science Foundation (NSF); European Research Council (ERC); National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA)
OSTI Identifier:
1393611
DOE Contract Number:  
AC02-05CH11231; ERC-2012-StG-307215; NNX16AN85G; 1454816
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal (Online)
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 835; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 1538-4357
Publisher:
Institute of Physics (IOP)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; accretion; accretion disks; black hole physics; galaxies; active surveys

Citation Formats

Gezari, S., Hung, T., Cenko, S. B., Blagorodnova, N., Yan, Lin, Kulkarni, S. R., Mooley, K., Kong, A. K. H., Cantwell, T. M., Yu, P. C., Cao, Y., Fremling, C., Neill, J. D., Ngeow, C. -C., Nugent, P. E., and Wozniak, P. iPTF Discovery of the Rapid “Turn-on” of a Luminous Quasar. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/835/2/144.
Gezari, S., Hung, T., Cenko, S. B., Blagorodnova, N., Yan, Lin, Kulkarni, S. R., Mooley, K., Kong, A. K. H., Cantwell, T. M., Yu, P. C., Cao, Y., Fremling, C., Neill, J. D., Ngeow, C. -C., Nugent, P. E., & Wozniak, P. iPTF Discovery of the Rapid “Turn-on” of a Luminous Quasar. United States. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/835/2/144.
Gezari, S., Hung, T., Cenko, S. B., Blagorodnova, N., Yan, Lin, Kulkarni, S. R., Mooley, K., Kong, A. K. H., Cantwell, T. M., Yu, P. C., Cao, Y., Fremling, C., Neill, J. D., Ngeow, C. -C., Nugent, P. E., and Wozniak, P. Tue . "iPTF Discovery of the Rapid “Turn-on” of a Luminous Quasar". United States. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/835/2/144. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1393611.
@article{osti_1393611,
title = {iPTF Discovery of the Rapid “Turn-on” of a Luminous Quasar},
author = {Gezari, S. and Hung, T. and Cenko, S. B. and Blagorodnova, N. and Yan, Lin and Kulkarni, S. R. and Mooley, K. and Kong, A. K. H. and Cantwell, T. M. and Yu, P. C. and Cao, Y. and Fremling, C. and Neill, J. D. and Ngeow, C. -C. and Nugent, P. E. and Wozniak, P.},
abstractNote = {We present a radio-quiet quasar at z = 0.237 discovered "turning on" by the intermediate Palomar Transient Factory (iPTF). The transient, iPTF 16bco, was detected by iPTF in the nucleus of a galaxy with an archival Sloan Digital Sky Survey spectrum with weak narrow-line emission characteristic of a low-ionization nuclear emission-line region (LINER). Our follow-up spectra show the dramatic appearance of broad Balmer lines and a power-law continuum characteristic of a luminous ( Lbol ≈ 1045 erg s-1) type 1 quasar 12 yr later. Our photometric monitoring with PTF from 2009-2012 and serendipitous X-ray observations from the XMM-Newton Slew Survey in 2011 and 2015 constrain the change of state to have occurred less than 500 days before the iPTF detection. An enhanced broad Hα/[O iii] λ5007 line ratio in the type 1 state relative to other changing-look quasars also is suggestive of the most rapid change of state yet observed in a quasar. Here, we argue that the > 10 increase in Eddington ratio inferred from the brightening in UV and X-ray continuum flux is more likely due to an intrinsic change in the accretion rate of a preexisting accretion disk than an external mechanism such as variable obscuration, microlensing, or the tidal disruption of a star. However, further monitoring will be helpful in better constraining the mechanism driving this change of state. The rapid "turn-on" of the quasar is much shorter than the viscous infall timescale of an accretion disk and requires a disk instability that can develop around a ~ 108 M⊙ black hole on timescales less than 1 yr.},
doi = {10.3847/1538-4357/835/2/144},
journal = {The Astrophysical Journal (Online)},
issn = {1538-4357},
number = 2,
volume = 835,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {1}
}

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