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Modelling the AGN broad line region using single-epoch spectra – I. The test case of Arp 151

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journal contribution
posted on 2019-08-12, 13:30 authored by S Raimundo, A Pancoast, M Vestergaard, M Goad, A Barth
We show that individual (single-epoch) spectra of AGN can constrain some of the geometry and dynamics of the AGN broad line region. Studies of the cosmic influence of supermassive black holes are limited by the current large uncertainties in the determination of black hole masses. One dominant limitation is the unknown geometry, dynamics and line-of-sight inclination of the broad line region, used to probe the central black hole mass. Recent progress has been made to constrain the spatial and kinematic structure of the broad line region using dynamical modelling of AGN monitoring data and an underlying physical model for the broad line region. In this work we test the ability of a modified version of this dynamical modelling code to constrain the broad line region structure using single-epoch spectra. We test our modelling code on single-epoch spectra of nearby Arp 151 by comparing our results with those obtained with monitoring data of this same object. We find that a significant fraction of the broad line region parameters can indeed be adequately constrained, with uncertainties that are comparable to, or at most a factor of ∼ a few higher than those obtained from modelling of monitoring data. Considering the wealth of available single-epoch spectroscopic observations, this method is promising for establishing the overall AGN population trends in the geometry and dynamics of the broad line region. This method can be applied to spectra of AGN at low and high redshift making it valuable for studies of cosmological black hole and AGN evolution.

Funding

The authors acknowledge financial support from the Independent Research Fund Denmark via grant no. DFF-4002-00275 (PI: Vestergaard). AP is supported by NASA through Einstein Postdoctoral Fellowship grant number PF5-160141 awarded by the Chandra X-ray Center, which is operated by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory for NASA under contract NAS8-03060. Research by A.J.B. is supported by NSF grant AST-1412693.

History

Citation

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 489, Issue 2, October 2019, Pages 1899–1918, https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stz2243

Author affiliation

/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING/Department of Physics and Astronomy

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Volume

789

Issue

2

Pagination

1899-1918

Publisher

Oxford University Press (OUP), Royal Astronomical Society

issn

0035-8711

Acceptance date

2019-08-07

Copyright date

2019

Available date

2019-08-13

Notes

The file associated with this record is under embargo until publication, in accordance with the publisher's self-archiving policy. The full text may be available through the publisher links provided above.

Language

en

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