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Title: Fading AGN Candidates: AGN Histories and Outflow Signatures

Abstract

We consider the energy budgets and radiative history of eight fading active galactic nuclei (AGNs), identified from an energy shortfall between the requirements to ionize very extended (radius > 10 kpc) ionized clouds and the luminosity of the nucleus as we view it directly. All show evidence of significant fading on timescales of ≈50,000 yr. We explore the use of minimum ionizing luminosity Q {sub ion} derived from photoionization balance in the brightest pixels in H α at each projected radius. Tests using presumably constant Palomar–Green QSOs, and one of our targets with detailed photoionization modeling, suggest that we can derive useful histories of individual AGNs, with the caveat that the minimum ionizing luminosity is always an underestimate and subject to uncertainties about fine structure in the ionized material. These consistency tests suggest that the degree of underestimation from the upper envelope of reconstructed Q {sub ion} values is roughly constant for a given object and therefore does not prevent such derivation. The AGNs in our sample show a range of behaviors, with rapid drops and standstills; the common feature is a rapid drop in the last ≈2×10{sup 4} yr before the direct view of the nucleus. The e -foldingmore » timescales for ionizing luminosity are mostly in the thousands of years, with a few episodes as short as 400 yr. In the limit of largely obscured AGNs, we find additional evidence for fading from the shortfall between even the lower limits from recombination balance and the maximum luminosities derived from far-infrared fluxes. We compare these long-term light curves, and the occurrence of these fading objects among all optically identified AGNs, to simulations of AGN accretion; the strongest variations over these timespans are seen in models with strong and local (parsec-scale) feedback. We present Gemini integral-field optical spectroscopy, which shows a very limited role for outflows in these ionized structures. While rings and loops of emission, morphologically suggestive of outflow, are common, their kinematic structure shows some to be in regular rotation. UGC 7342 exhibits local signatures of outflows <300 km s{sup −1}, largely associated with very diffuse emission, and possibly entraining gas in one of the clouds seen in Hubble Space Telescope images. Only in the Teacup AGN do we see outflow signatures of the order of 1000 km s{sup −1}. In contrast to the extended emission regions around many radio-loud AGNs, the clouds around these fading AGNs consist largely of tidal debris being externally illuminated but not displaced by AGN outflows.« less

Authors:
;  [1];  [2]; ; ; ;  [3];  [4]; ;  [5]; ;  [6];  [7];  [8];  [9]
  1. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Alabama, Box 870324, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487 (United States)
  2. Astrophysics, Oxford University and Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lakeshore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605 (United States)
  3. Physics Department, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA 93407 (United States)
  4. Department of Astronomy, New Mexico State University, P.O. Box 30001, MSC 4500, Las Cruces, NM 88003-8001 (United States)
  5. Special Astrophysical Observatory, Russian Academy of Sciences, Nizhny Arkhyz, 369167 (Russian Federation)
  6. Institute for Astronomy, ETH Zürich, Wolfgang-Pauli-Straße 27, CH-8093 Zurich (Switzerland)
  7. Department of Physics, Yale University, P.O. Box 208120, New Haven, CT 06520-8120 (United States)
  8. Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden St., Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States)
  9. Gemini Observatory, La Serena (Chile)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22663892
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 835; Journal Issue: 2; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; BALANCES; COMPARATIVE EVALUATIONS; ECOSYSTEMS; EMISSION; ENERGY BALANCE; FEEDBACK; FINE STRUCTURE; GALAXIES; GALAXY NUCLEI; INTERACTIONS; LUMINOSITY; NUCLEI; PHOTOIONIZATION; RECOMBINATION; ROTATION; SIMULATION; SPACE; SPECTROSCOPY; TELESCOPES; VISIBLE RADIATION

Citation Formats

Keel, William C., Maksym, W. Peter, Lintott, Chris J., Bennert, Vardha N., Scott, Bryan, Showley, Charles, Flatland, Kelsi, Chojnowski, S. Drew, Moiseev, Alexei, Smirnova, Aleksandrina, Schawinski, Kevin, Sartori, Lia F., Urry, C. Megan, Pancoast, Anna, and Schirmer, Mischa, E-mail: wkeel@ua.edu. Fading AGN Candidates: AGN Histories and Outflow Signatures. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/835/2/256.
Keel, William C., Maksym, W. Peter, Lintott, Chris J., Bennert, Vardha N., Scott, Bryan, Showley, Charles, Flatland, Kelsi, Chojnowski, S. Drew, Moiseev, Alexei, Smirnova, Aleksandrina, Schawinski, Kevin, Sartori, Lia F., Urry, C. Megan, Pancoast, Anna, & Schirmer, Mischa, E-mail: wkeel@ua.edu. Fading AGN Candidates: AGN Histories and Outflow Signatures. United States. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/835/2/256.
Keel, William C., Maksym, W. Peter, Lintott, Chris J., Bennert, Vardha N., Scott, Bryan, Showley, Charles, Flatland, Kelsi, Chojnowski, S. Drew, Moiseev, Alexei, Smirnova, Aleksandrina, Schawinski, Kevin, Sartori, Lia F., Urry, C. Megan, Pancoast, Anna, and Schirmer, Mischa, E-mail: wkeel@ua.edu. Wed . "Fading AGN Candidates: AGN Histories and Outflow Signatures". United States. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/835/2/256.
@article{osti_22663892,
title = {Fading AGN Candidates: AGN Histories and Outflow Signatures},
author = {Keel, William C. and Maksym, W. Peter and Lintott, Chris J. and Bennert, Vardha N. and Scott, Bryan and Showley, Charles and Flatland, Kelsi and Chojnowski, S. Drew and Moiseev, Alexei and Smirnova, Aleksandrina and Schawinski, Kevin and Sartori, Lia F. and Urry, C. Megan and Pancoast, Anna and Schirmer, Mischa, E-mail: wkeel@ua.edu},
abstractNote = {We consider the energy budgets and radiative history of eight fading active galactic nuclei (AGNs), identified from an energy shortfall between the requirements to ionize very extended (radius > 10 kpc) ionized clouds and the luminosity of the nucleus as we view it directly. All show evidence of significant fading on timescales of ≈50,000 yr. We explore the use of minimum ionizing luminosity Q {sub ion} derived from photoionization balance in the brightest pixels in H α at each projected radius. Tests using presumably constant Palomar–Green QSOs, and one of our targets with detailed photoionization modeling, suggest that we can derive useful histories of individual AGNs, with the caveat that the minimum ionizing luminosity is always an underestimate and subject to uncertainties about fine structure in the ionized material. These consistency tests suggest that the degree of underestimation from the upper envelope of reconstructed Q {sub ion} values is roughly constant for a given object and therefore does not prevent such derivation. The AGNs in our sample show a range of behaviors, with rapid drops and standstills; the common feature is a rapid drop in the last ≈2×10{sup 4} yr before the direct view of the nucleus. The e -folding timescales for ionizing luminosity are mostly in the thousands of years, with a few episodes as short as 400 yr. In the limit of largely obscured AGNs, we find additional evidence for fading from the shortfall between even the lower limits from recombination balance and the maximum luminosities derived from far-infrared fluxes. We compare these long-term light curves, and the occurrence of these fading objects among all optically identified AGNs, to simulations of AGN accretion; the strongest variations over these timespans are seen in models with strong and local (parsec-scale) feedback. We present Gemini integral-field optical spectroscopy, which shows a very limited role for outflows in these ionized structures. While rings and loops of emission, morphologically suggestive of outflow, are common, their kinematic structure shows some to be in regular rotation. UGC 7342 exhibits local signatures of outflows <300 km s{sup −1}, largely associated with very diffuse emission, and possibly entraining gas in one of the clouds seen in Hubble Space Telescope images. Only in the Teacup AGN do we see outflow signatures of the order of 1000 km s{sup −1}. In contrast to the extended emission regions around many radio-loud AGNs, the clouds around these fading AGNs consist largely of tidal debris being externally illuminated but not displaced by AGN outflows.},
doi = {10.3847/1538-4357/835/2/256},
journal = {Astrophysical Journal},
number = 2,
volume = 835,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Feb 01 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Wed Feb 01 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}