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Title: Variability-based active galactic nucleus selection using image subtraction in the SDSS and LSST era

With upcoming all-sky surveys such as LSST poised to generate a deep digital movie of the optical sky, variability-based active galactic nucleus (AGN) selection will enable the construction of highly complete catalogs with minimum contamination. In this study, we generate g-band difference images and construct light curves (LCs) for QSO/AGN candidates listed in Sloan Digital Sky Survey Stripe 82 public catalogs compiled from different methods, including spectroscopy, optical colors, variability, and X-ray detection. Image differencing excels at identifying variable sources embedded in complex or blended emission regions such as Type II AGNs and other low-luminosity AGNs that may be omitted from traditional photometric or spectroscopic catalogs. To separate QSOs/AGNs from other sources using our difference image LCs, we explore several LC statistics and parameterize optical variability by the characteristic damping timescale (τ) and variability amplitude. By virtue of distinguishable variability parameters of AGNs, we are able to select them with high completeness of 93.4% and efficiency (i.e., purity) of 71.3%. Based on optical variability, we also select highly variable blazar candidates, whose infrared colors are consistent with known blazars. One-third of them are also radio detected. With the X-ray selected AGN candidates, we probe the optical variability of X-ray detectedmore » optically extended sources using their difference image LCs for the first time. A combination of optical variability and X-ray detection enables us to select various types of host-dominated AGNs. Contrary to the AGN unification model prediction, two Type II AGN candidates (out of six) show detectable variability on long-term timescales like typical Type I AGNs. This study will provide a baseline for future optical variability studies of extended sources.« less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ;  [1] ;  [2]
  1. Department of Astronomy, University of Washington, Box 351580, Seattle, WA 98195 (United States)
  2. Physics Department, U.S. Naval Academy, 572 Holloway Road, Annapolis, MD 21402 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22348029
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 782; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; AMPLITUDES; CATALOGS; EFFICIENCY; EMISSION; GALAXY NUCLEI; LUMINOSITY; QUASARS; SPECTROSCOPY; STATISTICS; VISIBLE RADIATION; X RADIATION; X-RAY DETECTION