QUASAR VARIABILITY in the MID-INFRARED

Szymon Kozłowski, Christopher S. Kochanek, Matthew L.N. Ashby, Roberto J. Assef, Mark Brodwin, Peter R. Eisenhardt, Buell T. Jannuzi, Daniel Stern

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Decadal IRAC Boötes Survey is a mid-IR variability survey of the ∼9 sq. deg. of the NDWFS Boötes Field and extends the time baseline of its predecessor, the Spitzer Deep, Wide-Field Survey (SDWFS), from 4 to 10 years. The Spitzer Space Telescope visited the field five times between 2004 and 2014 at 3.6 and 4.5 μm. We provide the difference image analysis photometry for a half a million mostly extragalactic sources. In mid-IR color-color plane, sources with quasar colors constitute the largest variability class (75%), 16% of the variable objects have stellar colors and the remaining 9% have the colors of galaxies. Adding the fifth epoch doubles the number of variable active galactic nuclei (AGNs) for the same false positive rates as in SDWFS, or increases the number of sources by 20% while decreasing the false positive rates by factors of 2-3 for the same variability amplitude. We quantify the ensemble mid-IR variability of ∼1500 spectroscopically confirmed AGNs using single power-law structure functions (SFs), which we find to be steeper (index γ ≈ 0.45) than in the optical (γ ≈ 0.3), leading to much lower amplitudes at short time-lags. This provides evidence for large emission regions, smoothing out any fast UV/optical variations, as the origin of infrared quasar variability. The mid-IR AGN SF slope γ seems to be uncorrelated with both the luminosity and rest-frame wavelength, while the amplitude shows an anti-correlation with the luminosity and a correlation with the rest-frame wavelength.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number119
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume817
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

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Keywords

  • cosmology: observations
  • galaxies: active
  • infrared: galaxies
  • quasars: general

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Kozłowski, S., Kochanek, C. S., Ashby, M. L. N., Assef, R. J., Brodwin, M., Eisenhardt, P. R., Jannuzi, B. T., & Stern, D. (2016). QUASAR VARIABILITY in the MID-INFRARED. Astrophysical Journal, 817(2), [119]. https://doi.org/10.3847/0004-637X/817/2/119