MULTI-EPOCH SPECTROSCOPY of DWARF GALAXIES with AGN SIGNATURES: IDENTIFYING SOURCES with PERSISTENT BROAD Hα EMISSION

Vivienne F. Baldassare, Amy E. Reines, Elena Gallo, Jenny E. Greene, Or Graur, Marla Geha, Kevin Hainline, Christopher M. Carroll, Ryan C. Hickox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

We use time-domain optical spectroscopy to distinguish between broad emission lines powered by accreting black holes (BHs) and stellar processes (i.e., supernovae) for 16 galaxies identified as active galactic nucleus (AGN) candidates by Reines et al (2013). Our study is primarily focused on those objects with narrow emission line ratios dominated by star formation, for which the origin of the broad Hα emission was unclear. Based on follow-up spectroscopy, we find that the broad Hα emission has faded or was ambiguous for all of the star-forming objects (14/16), over baselines ranging from 5-14 years, suggesting a transient stellar process was responsible for the broad emission in previous Sloan Digital Sky Survey observations. For the two objects in our follow-up sample with narrow-line AGN signatures (RGG 9 and RGG 119), we find persistent broad Hα emission consistent with an AGN origin. Additionally, we use high spectral resolution observations to measure stellar velocity dispersions for 15 objects in the Reines et al. (2013) sample, all with narrow-line ratios indicating the presence of an AGN. Stellar masses range from ∼5 × 108 to 3 × 109 M o, and we measure σ∗ in the range of 28-71 km s-1. These σ∗ correspond to some of the lowest-mass galaxies with optical signatures of AGN activity. We show that RGG 119, the one object that has both a measured σ∗ and persistent broad Hα emission, falls near the extrapolation of the relation to the MBH - σ∗ low-mass end.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number57
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume829
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 20 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Keywords

  • galaxies: active
  • galaxies: dwarf
  • quasars: emission lines
  • quasars: supermassive black holes
  • supernovae: general

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    Baldassare, V. F., Reines, A. E., Gallo, E., Greene, J. E., Graur, O., Geha, M., Hainline, K., Carroll, C. M., & Hickox, R. C. (2016). MULTI-EPOCH SPECTROSCOPY of DWARF GALAXIES with AGN SIGNATURES: IDENTIFYING SOURCES with PERSISTENT BROAD Hα EMISSION. Astrophysical Journal, 829(1), [57]. https://doi.org/10.3847/0004-637X/829/1/57