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Title: Candidate Periodically Variable Quasars from the Dark Energy Survey and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

Abstract

Periodically variable quasars have been suggested as close binary supermassive black holes. We present a systematic search for periodic light curves in 625 spectroscopically confirmed quasars with a median redshift of 1.8 in a 4.6 deg2 overlapping region of the Dark Energy Survey Supernova (DES-SN) fields and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Stripe 82 (SDSS-S82). Our sample has a unique 20-year long multi-color (griz) light curve enabled by combining DES-SN Y6 observations with archival SDSS-S82 data. The deep imaging allows us to search for periodic light curves in less luminous quasars (down to r ~23.5 mag) powered by less massive black holes (with masses ≳ 108.5M⊙) at high redshift for the first time. We find five candidates with significant (at >99.74% single-frequency significance in at least two bands with a global p-value of ~7 × 10-4–3× 10-3 accounting for the look-elsewhere effect) periodicity with observed periods of ~3–5 years (i.e., 1–2 years in rest frame) having ~4–6 cycles spanned by the observations. If all five candidates are periodically variable quasars, this translates into a detection rate of $${\sim }0.8^{+0.5}_{-0.3}$$% or $${\sim }1.1^{+0.7}_{-0.5}$$ quasar per deg2. Our detection rate is 4–80 times larger than those found by previous searches using shallower surveys over larger areas. This discrepancy is likely caused by differences in the quasar populations probed and the survey data qualities. We discuss implications on the future direct detection of low-frequency gravitational waves. Continued photometric monitoring will further assess the robustness and characteristics of these candidate periodic quasars to determine their physical origins.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1];  [1];  [2];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [3];  [4];  [5];  [6];  [7];  [8];  [9];  [10];  [11];  [12];  [13];  [1] more »;  [14];  [15];  [16];  [17];  [12];  [18];  [6];  [10];  [19];  [6];  [20];  [21];  [7];  [22];  [23];  [24];  [6];  [17];  [19];  [25];  [26];  [27];  [6];  [28];  [29];  [5];  [16];  [30];  [31];  [1];  [32];  [21];  [33];  [34];  [12];  [35];  [22];  [12];  [36];  [37];  [20];  [35];  [29];  [38];  [4] « less
  1. Department of Astronomy, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1002 W. Green Street, Urbana, IL 61801, USA;National Center for Supercomputing Applications, 1205 West Clark St., Urbana, IL 61801, USA
  2. Department of Astronomy, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1002 W. Green Street, Urbana, IL 61801, USA
  3. Department of Physics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1110 W. Green Street, Urbana, IL 61801, USA
  4. Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory/NSF’s NOIRLab, Casilla 603, La Serena, Chile
  5. Departamento de Física Matemática, Instituto de Física, Universidade de São Paulo, CP 66318, São Paulo, SP, 05314-970, Brazil;Laboratório Interinstitucional de e-Astronomia - LIneA, Rua Gal. José Cristino 77, Rio de Janeiro, RJ - 20921-400, Brazil
  6. Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, P. O. Box 500, Batavia, IL 60510, USA
  7. Instituto de Fisica Teorica UAM/CSIC, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, 28049 Madrid, Spain
  8. CNRS, UMR 7095, Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, F-75014, Paris, France;Sorbonne Universités, UPMC Univ Paris 06, UMR 7095, Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris, F-75014, Paris, France
  9. Department of Physics and Astronomy, Pevensey Building, University of Sussex, Brighton, BN1 9QH, UK
  10. Department of Physics & Astronomy, University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK
  11. Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics & Cosmology, P. O. Box 2450, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA;SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA
  12. Centro de Investigaciones Energéticas, Medioambientales y Tecnológicas (CIEMAT), Madrid, Spain
  13. INAF, Astrophysical Observatory of Turin, I-10025 Pino Torinese, Italy
  14. Institut de Física d’Altes Energies (IFAE), The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology, Campus UAB, 08193 Bellaterra (Barcelona) Spain
  15. INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste, via G. B. Tiepolo 11, I-34143 Trieste, Italy;Institute for Fundamental Physics of the Universe, Via Beirut 2, 34014 Trieste, Italy
  16. Laboratório Interinstitucional de e-Astronomia - LIneA, Rua Gal. José Cristino 77, Rio de Janeiro, RJ - 20921-400, Brazil;Observatório Nacional, Rua Gal. José Cristino 77, Rio de Janeiro, RJ - 20921-400, Brazil
  17. School of Mathematics and Physics, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD 4072, Australia
  18. Department of Physics, IIT Hyderabad, Kandi, Telangana 502285, India
  19. Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA
  20. National Center for Supercomputing Applications, 1205 West Clark St., Urbana, IL 61801, USA
  21. Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, P. O. Box 500, Batavia, IL 60510, USA;Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA
  22. Institut d’Estudis Espacials de Catalunya (IEEC), 08034 Barcelona, Spain;Institute of Space Sciences (ICE, CSIC), Campus UAB, Carrer de Can Magrans, s/n, 08193 Barcelona, Spain
  23. Centre for Astrophysics & Supercomputing, Swinburne University of Technology, Victoria 3122, Australia
  24. Department of Physics, Stanford University, 382 Via Pueblo Mall, Stanford, CA 94305, USA;Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics & Cosmology, P. O. Box 2450, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA;SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA
  25. Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
  26. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 1 Cyclotron Road, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
  27. Australian Astronomical Optics, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW 2113, Australia;Lowell Observatory, 1400 Mars Hill Rd, Flagstaff, AZ 86001, USA
  28. Sydney Institute for Astronomy, School of Physics, A28, The University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
  29. The Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Australian National University, ACT 2601, Australia
  30. Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA
  31. George P. and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy, and Department of Physics and Astronomy, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843, USA
  32. Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats, E-08010 Barcelona, Spain;Institut de Física d’Altes Energies (IFAE), The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology, Campus UAB, 08193 Bellaterra (Barcelona) Spain
  33. Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0HA, UK;National Center for Supercomputing Applications, 1205 West Clark St., Urbana, IL 61801, USA
  34. Department of Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University, Peyton Hall, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
  35. Department of Physics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA
  36. School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Southampton, Southampton, SO17 1BJ, UK
  37. Computer Science and Mathematics Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN 37831
  38. Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Giessenbachstrasse, 85748 Garching, Germany;Universitäts-Sternwarte, Fakultät für Physik, Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München, Scheinerstr. 1, 81679 München, Germany
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States); SLAC National Accelerator Lab., Menlo Park, CA (United States); Fermi National Accelerator Lab. (FNAL), Batavia, IL (United States); Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States); Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), High Energy Physics (HEP); National Science Foundation (NSF); USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES)
Contributing Org.:
DES Collaboration
OSTI Identifier:
1674992
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1775418; OSTI ID: 1782439; OSTI ID: 1820802
Report Number(s):
arXiv:2008.12329; FERMILAB-PUB-20-179-AE
Journal ID: ISSN 0035-8711; oai:inspirehep.net:1813875
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-07CH11359; NA0003864; AST-1715579; SC0019193; AC05-00OR22725; AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 499; Journal Issue: 2; Journal ID: ISSN 0035-8711
Publisher:
Royal Astronomical Society
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS; black hole physics; active galaxies; high-redshift galaxies; nuclei; quasars

Citation Formats

Chen, Yu-Ching, Liu, Xin, Liao, Wei-Ting, Holgado, A. Miguel, Guo, Hengxiao, Gruendl, Robert A., Morganson, Eric, Shen, Yue, Zhang, Kaiwen, Abbott, Tim C., Aguena, Michel, Allam, Sahar, Avila, Santiago, Bertin, Emmanuel, Bhargava, Sunayana, Brooks, David, Burke, David L., Rosell, Aurelio Carnero, Carollo, Daniela, Kind, Matias Carrasco, Carretero, Jorge, Costanzi, Matteo, da Costa, Luiz N., Davis, Tamara M., De Vicente, Juan, Desai, Shantanu, Diehl, H. Thomas, Doel, Peter, Everett, Spencer, Flaugher, Brenna, Friedel, Douglas, Frieman, Joshua, García-Bellido, Juan, Gaztanaga, Enrique, Glazebrook, Karl, Gruen, Daniel, Gutierrez, Gaston, Hinton, Samuel R., Hollowood, Devon L., James, David J., Kim, Alex G., Kuehn, Kyler, Kuropatkin, Nikolay, Lewis, Geraint F., Lidman, Christopher, Lima, Marcos, Maia, Marcio G., March, Marisa, Marshall, Jennifer L., Menanteau, Felipe, Miquel, Ramon, Palmese, Antonella, Paz-Chinchón, Francisco, Plazas, Andrés A., Sanchez, Eusebio, Schubnell, Michael, Serrano, Santiago, Sevilla-Noarbe, Ignacio, Smith, Mathew, Suchyta, Eric, Swanson, Molly C., Tarle, Gregory, Tucker, Brad E., Varga, Tamas Norbert, and Walker, Alistair R.. Candidate Periodically Variable Quasars from the Dark Energy Survey and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. United States: N. p., 2020. Web. https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/staa2957.
Chen, Yu-Ching, Liu, Xin, Liao, Wei-Ting, Holgado, A. Miguel, Guo, Hengxiao, Gruendl, Robert A., Morganson, Eric, Shen, Yue, Zhang, Kaiwen, Abbott, Tim C., Aguena, Michel, Allam, Sahar, Avila, Santiago, Bertin, Emmanuel, Bhargava, Sunayana, Brooks, David, Burke, David L., Rosell, Aurelio Carnero, Carollo, Daniela, Kind, Matias Carrasco, Carretero, Jorge, Costanzi, Matteo, da Costa, Luiz N., Davis, Tamara M., De Vicente, Juan, Desai, Shantanu, Diehl, H. Thomas, Doel, Peter, Everett, Spencer, Flaugher, Brenna, Friedel, Douglas, Frieman, Joshua, García-Bellido, Juan, Gaztanaga, Enrique, Glazebrook, Karl, Gruen, Daniel, Gutierrez, Gaston, Hinton, Samuel R., Hollowood, Devon L., James, David J., Kim, Alex G., Kuehn, Kyler, Kuropatkin, Nikolay, Lewis, Geraint F., Lidman, Christopher, Lima, Marcos, Maia, Marcio G., March, Marisa, Marshall, Jennifer L., Menanteau, Felipe, Miquel, Ramon, Palmese, Antonella, Paz-Chinchón, Francisco, Plazas, Andrés A., Sanchez, Eusebio, Schubnell, Michael, Serrano, Santiago, Sevilla-Noarbe, Ignacio, Smith, Mathew, Suchyta, Eric, Swanson, Molly C., Tarle, Gregory, Tucker, Brad E., Varga, Tamas Norbert, & Walker, Alistair R.. Candidate Periodically Variable Quasars from the Dark Energy Survey and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. United States. https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/staa2957
Chen, Yu-Ching, Liu, Xin, Liao, Wei-Ting, Holgado, A. Miguel, Guo, Hengxiao, Gruendl, Robert A., Morganson, Eric, Shen, Yue, Zhang, Kaiwen, Abbott, Tim C., Aguena, Michel, Allam, Sahar, Avila, Santiago, Bertin, Emmanuel, Bhargava, Sunayana, Brooks, David, Burke, David L., Rosell, Aurelio Carnero, Carollo, Daniela, Kind, Matias Carrasco, Carretero, Jorge, Costanzi, Matteo, da Costa, Luiz N., Davis, Tamara M., De Vicente, Juan, Desai, Shantanu, Diehl, H. Thomas, Doel, Peter, Everett, Spencer, Flaugher, Brenna, Friedel, Douglas, Frieman, Joshua, García-Bellido, Juan, Gaztanaga, Enrique, Glazebrook, Karl, Gruen, Daniel, Gutierrez, Gaston, Hinton, Samuel R., Hollowood, Devon L., James, David J., Kim, Alex G., Kuehn, Kyler, Kuropatkin, Nikolay, Lewis, Geraint F., Lidman, Christopher, Lima, Marcos, Maia, Marcio G., March, Marisa, Marshall, Jennifer L., Menanteau, Felipe, Miquel, Ramon, Palmese, Antonella, Paz-Chinchón, Francisco, Plazas, Andrés A., Sanchez, Eusebio, Schubnell, Michael, Serrano, Santiago, Sevilla-Noarbe, Ignacio, Smith, Mathew, Suchyta, Eric, Swanson, Molly C., Tarle, Gregory, Tucker, Brad E., Varga, Tamas Norbert, and Walker, Alistair R.. Sat . "Candidate Periodically Variable Quasars from the Dark Energy Survey and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey". United States. https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/staa2957. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1674992.
@article{osti_1674992,
title = {Candidate Periodically Variable Quasars from the Dark Energy Survey and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey},
author = {Chen, Yu-Ching and Liu, Xin and Liao, Wei-Ting and Holgado, A. Miguel and Guo, Hengxiao and Gruendl, Robert A. and Morganson, Eric and Shen, Yue and Zhang, Kaiwen and Abbott, Tim C. and Aguena, Michel and Allam, Sahar and Avila, Santiago and Bertin, Emmanuel and Bhargava, Sunayana and Brooks, David and Burke, David L. and Rosell, Aurelio Carnero and Carollo, Daniela and Kind, Matias Carrasco and Carretero, Jorge and Costanzi, Matteo and da Costa, Luiz N. and Davis, Tamara M. and De Vicente, Juan and Desai, Shantanu and Diehl, H. Thomas and Doel, Peter and Everett, Spencer and Flaugher, Brenna and Friedel, Douglas and Frieman, Joshua and García-Bellido, Juan and Gaztanaga, Enrique and Glazebrook, Karl and Gruen, Daniel and Gutierrez, Gaston and Hinton, Samuel R. and Hollowood, Devon L. and James, David J. and Kim, Alex G. and Kuehn, Kyler and Kuropatkin, Nikolay and Lewis, Geraint F. and Lidman, Christopher and Lima, Marcos and Maia, Marcio G. and March, Marisa and Marshall, Jennifer L. and Menanteau, Felipe and Miquel, Ramon and Palmese, Antonella and Paz-Chinchón, Francisco and Plazas, Andrés A. and Sanchez, Eusebio and Schubnell, Michael and Serrano, Santiago and Sevilla-Noarbe, Ignacio and Smith, Mathew and Suchyta, Eric and Swanson, Molly C. and Tarle, Gregory and Tucker, Brad E. and Varga, Tamas Norbert and Walker, Alistair R.},
abstractNote = {Periodically variable quasars have been suggested as close binary supermassive black holes. We present a systematic search for periodic light curves in 625 spectroscopically confirmed quasars with a median redshift of 1.8 in a 4.6 deg2 overlapping region of the Dark Energy Survey Supernova (DES-SN) fields and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Stripe 82 (SDSS-S82). Our sample has a unique 20-year long multi-color (griz) light curve enabled by combining DES-SN Y6 observations with archival SDSS-S82 data. The deep imaging allows us to search for periodic light curves in less luminous quasars (down to r ~23.5 mag) powered by less massive black holes (with masses ≳ 108.5M⊙) at high redshift for the first time. We find five candidates with significant (at >99.74% single-frequency significance in at least two bands with a global p-value of ~7 × 10-4–3× 10-3 accounting for the look-elsewhere effect) periodicity with observed periods of ~3–5 years (i.e., 1–2 years in rest frame) having ~4–6 cycles spanned by the observations. If all five candidates are periodically variable quasars, this translates into a detection rate of ${\sim }0.8^{+0.5}_{-0.3}$% or ${\sim }1.1^{+0.7}_{-0.5}$ quasar per deg2. Our detection rate is 4–80 times larger than those found by previous searches using shallower surveys over larger areas. This discrepancy is likely caused by differences in the quasar populations probed and the survey data qualities. We discuss implications on the future direct detection of low-frequency gravitational waves. Continued photometric monitoring will further assess the robustness and characteristics of these candidate periodic quasars to determine their physical origins.},
doi = {10.1093/mnras/staa2957},
journal = {Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society},
number = 2,
volume = 499,
place = {United States},
year = {2020},
month = {9}
}

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