Steps toward determination of the size and structure of the broad-line region in active galactic nuclei. XVI. A 13 year study of spectral variability in NGC 5548

B. M. Peterson, P. Berlind, R. Bertram, K. Bischoff, N. G. Bochkarev, N. Borisov, A. N. Burenkov, M. Calkins, L. Carrasco, V. H. Chavushyan, R. Chornock, M. Dietrich, V. T. Doroshenko, O. V. Ezhkova, A. V. Filippenko, A. M. Gilbert, J. P. Huchra, W. Kollatschny, D. C. Leonard, W. LiV. M. Lyuty, Yu F. Malkov, T. Matheson, N. I. Merkulova, V. P. Mikhailov, M. Modjaz, C. A. Onken, R. W. Pogge, V. I. Pronik, B. Qian, P. Romano, S. G. Sergeev, E. A. Sergeeva, A. I. Shapovalova, O. I. Spiridonova, J. Tao, S. Tokarz, J. R. Valdes, V. V. Vlasiuk, R. M. Wagner, B. J. Wilkes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    We present the final installment of an intensive 13 year study of variations of the optical continuum and broad Hβ emission line in the Seyfert 1 galaxy NGC 5548. The database consists of 1530 optical continuum measurements and 1248 Hβ measurements. The Hβ variations follow the continuum variations closely, with a typical time delay of about 20 days. However, a year-by-year analysis shows that the magnitude of emission-line time delay is correlated with the mean continuum flux. We argue that the data are consistent with the simple model prediction between the size of the broad-line region and the ionizing luminosity, r ∝ Lion1/2. Moreover, the apparently linear nature of the correlation between the Hβ response time and the nonstellar optical continuum Fopt arises as a consequence of the changing shape of the continuum as it varies, specifically Fopt ∝ FUV0.56.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)197-204
    Number of pages8
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Volume581
    Issue number1 I
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Dec 10 2002

    Keywords

    • Galaxies: Seyfert
    • Galaxies: active
    • Galaxies: individual (NGC 5548)
    • Galaxies: nuclei

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Space and Planetary Science

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  • Cite this

    Peterson, B. M., Berlind, P., Bertram, R., Bischoff, K., Bochkarev, N. G., Borisov, N., Burenkov, A. N., Calkins, M., Carrasco, L., Chavushyan, V. H., Chornock, R., Dietrich, M., Doroshenko, V. T., Ezhkova, O. V., Filippenko, A. V., Gilbert, A. M., Huchra, J. P., Kollatschny, W., Leonard, D. C., ... Wilkes, B. J. (2002). Steps toward determination of the size and structure of the broad-line region in active galactic nuclei. XVI. A 13 year study of spectral variability in NGC 5548. Astrophysical Journal, 581(1 I), 197-204. https://doi.org/10.1086/344197