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Author(s): Bentz, Misty C; Denney, Kelly D; Grier, Catherine J; Barth, Aaron J; Peterson, Bradley M; et al

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Abstract: We present an updated and revised analysis of the relationship between the H beta broad-line region (BLR) radius and the luminosity of the active galactic nucleus (AGN). Specifically, we have carried out two-dimensional surface brightness decompositions of the host galaxies of nine new AGNs imaged with the Hubble Space Telescope Wide Field Camera 3. The surface brightness decompositions allow us to create “AGN-free” images of the galaxies, from which we measure the starlight contribution to the optical luminosity measured through the ground-based spectroscopic aperture. We also incorporate 20 new reverberation-mapping measurements of the H beta time lag, which is assumed to yield the average H beta BLR radius. The final sample includes 41 AGNs covering four orders of magnitude in luminosity. The additions and updates incorporated here primarily affect the low-luminosity end of the R-BLR-L relationship. The best fit to the relationship using a Bayesian analysis finds a slope of alpha = 0.533(-0.033)(+0.035), consistent with previous work and with simple photoionization arguments. Only two AGNs appear to be outliers from the relationship, but both of them have monitoring light curves that raise doubt regarding the accuracy of their reported time lags. The scatter around the relationship is found to be 0.19 +/- 0.02 dex, but would be decreased to 0.13 dex by the removal of these two suspect measurements. A large fraction of the remaining scatter in the relationship is likely due to the inaccurate distances to the AGN host galaxies. Our results help support the possibility that the R-BLR-L relationship could potentially be used to turn the BLRs of AGNs into standardizable candles. This would allow the cosmological expansion of the universe to be probed by a separate population of objects, and over a larger range of redshifts.
Publication Date: 20-Apr-2013
Electronic Publication Date: 5-Apr-2013
Citation: Bentz, Misty C, Denney, Kelly D, Grier, Catherine J, Barth, Aaron J, Peterson, Bradley M, Vestergaard, Marianne, Bennert, Vardha N, Canalizo, Gabriela, De Rosa, Gisella, Filippenko, Alexei V, Gates, Elinor L, Greene, Jenny E, Li, Weidong, Malkan, Matthew A, Pogge, Richard W, Stern, Daniel, Treu, Tommaso, Woo, Jong-Hak. (2013). THE LOW-LUMINOSITY END OF THE RADIUS-LUMINOSITY RELATIONSHIP FOR ACTIVE GALACTIC NUCLEI. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL, 767 (10.1088/0004-637X/767/2/149
DOI: doi:10.1088/0004-637X/767/2/149
ISSN: 0004-637X
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Type of Material: Journal Article
Journal/Proceeding Title: ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL
Version: Final published version. Article is made available in OAR by the publisher's permission or policy.

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