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iPTF Discovery of the Rapid Turn-on of a Luminous Quasar
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Number of Authors: 16
2017 (English)In: Astrophysical Journal, ISSN 0004-637X, E-ISSN 1538-4357, Vol. 835, no 2, 144Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

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 approximate to 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 H alpha/[O III] lambda 5007 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. 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 similar to 10(8) M circle dot black hole on timescales less than 1 yr.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 835, no 2, 144
Keyword [en]
accretion, accretion disks, black hole physics, galaxies: active, surveys
National Category
Physical Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-144594DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/835/2/144ISI: 000401145300005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-144594DiVA: diva2:1116051
Available from: 2017-06-27 Created: 2017-06-27 Last updated: 2017-06-27Bibliographically approved

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Fremling, Christoffer
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Department of AstronomyThe Oskar Klein Centre for Cosmo Particle Physics (OKC)
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