Interpreting the variability of double-peaked emission lines in active galactic nuclei with stochastically perturbed accretion disk models

Hélène M.L.G. Flohic, Michael Eracleous

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

In an effort to explain the short-timescale variability of the broad, double-peaked profiles of some active galactic nuclei, we constructed stochastically perturbed accretion disk models and calculated Ha line profile series as the bright spots rotate, shear, and decay. We determined the dependence of the properties of the line profile variability on the spot properties. We compared the variability of the line profile from the models to the observed variability of the Ha line of Arp 102B and 3C 390.3. We find that spots need to be concentrated in the outer parts of the line-emitting region to reproduce the observed variability properties for Arp 102B. This rules out spot production by star/disk collisions and favors a scenario where the radius of marginal self-gravity is within the line-emitting region, creating a sharp increase in the radial spot distribution in the outer parts. In the case of 3C 390.3, all the families of models that we tested can reproduce the observed variability for a suitable choice of model parameters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-147
Number of pages10
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume686
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 10 2008

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active galactic nuclei
accretion disks
accretion
profiles
collision
gravity
timescale
gravitation
shear
stars
collisions
radii
decay

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

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abstract = "In an effort to explain the short-timescale variability of the broad, double-peaked profiles of some active galactic nuclei, we constructed stochastically perturbed accretion disk models and calculated Ha line profile series as the bright spots rotate, shear, and decay. We determined the dependence of the properties of the line profile variability on the spot properties. We compared the variability of the line profile from the models to the observed variability of the Ha line of Arp 102B and 3C 390.3. We find that spots need to be concentrated in the outer parts of the line-emitting region to reproduce the observed variability properties for Arp 102B. This rules out spot production by star/disk collisions and favors a scenario where the radius of marginal self-gravity is within the line-emitting region, creating a sharp increase in the radial spot distribution in the outer parts. In the case of 3C 390.3, all the families of models that we tested can reproduce the observed variability for a suitable choice of model parameters.",
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Interpreting the variability of double-peaked emission lines in active galactic nuclei with stochastically perturbed accretion disk models. / Flohic, Hélène M.L.G.; Eracleous, Michael.

In: Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 686, No. 1, 10.10.2008, p. 138-147.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AB - In an effort to explain the short-timescale variability of the broad, double-peaked profiles of some active galactic nuclei, we constructed stochastically perturbed accretion disk models and calculated Ha line profile series as the bright spots rotate, shear, and decay. We determined the dependence of the properties of the line profile variability on the spot properties. We compared the variability of the line profile from the models to the observed variability of the Ha line of Arp 102B and 3C 390.3. We find that spots need to be concentrated in the outer parts of the line-emitting region to reproduce the observed variability properties for Arp 102B. This rules out spot production by star/disk collisions and favors a scenario where the radius of marginal self-gravity is within the line-emitting region, creating a sharp increase in the radial spot distribution in the outer parts. In the case of 3C 390.3, all the families of models that we tested can reproduce the observed variability for a suitable choice of model parameters.

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