T. Dwelly

Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Arching, Bavaria, Germany

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Publications (65)148.95 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This paper presents a survey of X-ray selected active galactic nuclei (AGN) with optical spectroscopic follow-up in a $\sim 18\, \rm{deg^2}$ area of the equatorial XMM-XXL north field. A sample of 8445 point-like X-ray sources detected by XMM-Newton above a limiting flux of $F_{\rm 0.5-10\, keV} > 10^{-15} \rm\,erg\, cm^{-2}\, s^{-1}$ was matched to optical (SDSS) and infrared (WISE) counterparts. We followed up 3042 sources brighter than $r=22.5$ mag with the SDSS BOSS spectrograph. The spectra yielded a reliable redshift measurement for 2578 AGN in the redshift range $z=0.02-5.0$, with $0.5-2\rm\, keV$ luminosities ranging from $10^{39}-10^{46}\rm\,erg\,s^{-1}$. This is currently the largest published spectroscopic sample of X-ray selected AGN in a contiguous area. The BOSS spectra of AGN candidates show a bimodal distribution of optical line widths allowing a separation between broad- and narrow-emission line AGN. The former dominate our sample (70 per cent) due to the relatively bright X-ray flux limit and the optical BOSS magnitude limit. We classify the narrow emission line objects (22 per cent of full sample) using standard BPT diagnostics: the majority have line ratios indicating the dominant source of ionization is the AGN. A small number (8 per cent of full sample) exhibit the typical narrow line ratios of star-forming galaxies, or only have absorption lines in their spectra. We term the latter two classes "elusive'' AGN. We also compare X-ray, optical and infrared color AGN selections in this field. X-ray observations reveal, the largest number of AGN. The overlap between the selections, which is a strong function of the imaging depth in a given band, is also remarkably small. We show using spectral stacking that a large fraction of the X-ray AGN would not be selectable via optical or IR colours due to host galaxy contamination.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report the discovery of a new "changing-look" quasar, SDSS J101152.98+544206.4, through repeat spectroscopy from the Time Domain Spectroscopic Survey. This is an addition to a small but growing set of quasars whose blue continua and broad optical emission lines have been observed to decline by a large factor on a time scale of approximately a decade. The 5100 Angstrom monochromatic continuum luminosity of this quasar drops by a factor of > 9.8 in a rest-frame time interval of < 9.7 years, while the broad H-alpha luminosity drops by a factor of 55 in the same amount of time. The width of the broad H-alpha line increases in the dim state such that the black hole mass derived from the appropriate single-epoch scaling relation agrees between the two epochs within a factor of 3. The fluxes of the narrow emission lines do not appear to change between epochs. The light curve obtained by the Catalina Sky Survey suggests that the transition occurs within a rest-frame time interval of approximately 500 days. We examine three possible mechanisms for this transition suggested in the recent literature. An abrupt change in the reddening towards the central engine is disfavored by the substantial difference between the timescale to obscure the central engine and the observed timescale of the transition. A decaying tidal disruption flare is consistent with the decay rate of the light curve but not with the prolonged bright state preceding the decay, nor can this scenario provide the power required by the luminosities of the emission lines. An abrupt drop in the accretion rate onto the supermassive black hole appears to be the most plausible explanation for the rapid dimming.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The uncertain origin of the recently-discovered 'changing-looking' quasar phenomenon - in which a luminous quasar dims significantly to a quiescent state in repeat spectroscopy over ~10 year timescales - may present unexpected challenges to our understanding of quasar accretion. To better understand this phenomenon, we take a first step to building a statistical sample of changing-look quasars with a systematic but simple archival search for these objects in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 12. By leveraging the >10 year baselines for objects with repeat spectroscopy, we uncover two new changing-look quasars. Decomposition of the multi-epoch spectra and analysis of the broad emission lines suggest that the quasar accretion disk emission dims due to rapidly decreasing accretion rates, while disfavoring changes in intrinsic dust extinction. Narrow emission line energetics also support intrinsic dimming of quasar emission as the origin for this phenomenon rather than transient tidal disruption events. Although our search criteria included quasars at all redshifts and quasar transitions from either quasar-like to galaxy-like states or the reverse, all the most confident changing-look quasars discovered thus far have been relatively low-redshift (z ~ 0.2 - 0.3) and only exhibit quasar-like to galaxy-like transitions.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2015
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Extended Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (eBOSS) will conduct novel cosmological observations using the BOSS spectrograph at Apache Point Observatory. Observations will be simultaneous with the Time Domain Spectroscopic Survey (TDSS) designed for variability studies and the Spectroscopic Identification of eROSITA Sources (SPIDERS) program designed for studies of X-ray sources. eBOSS will use four different tracers to measure the distance-redshift relation with baryon acoustic oscillations (BAO) in the clustering of matter. Using more than 250,000 new, spectroscopically confirmed luminous red galaxies at a median redshift z=0.72, we project that eBOSS will yield measurements of $d_A(z)$ to an accuracy of 1.2% and measurements of H(z) to 2.1% when combined with the z>0.6 sample of BOSS galaxies. With ~195,000 new emission line galaxy redshifts, we expect BAO measurements of $d_A(z)$ to an accuracy of 3.1% and H(z) to 4.7% at an effective redshift of z= 0.87. A sample of more than 500,000 spectroscopically-confirmed quasars will provide the first BAO distance measurements over the redshift range 0.9<z<2.2, with expected precision of 2.8% and 4.2% on $d_A(z)$ and H(z), respectively. Finally, with 60,000 new quasars and re-observation of 60,000 quasars known from BOSS, we will obtain new Lyman-alpha forest measurements at redshifts z>2.1; these new data will enhance the precision of $d_A(z)$ and H(z) by a factor of 1.44 relative to BOSS. Furthermore, eBOSS will provide new tests of General Relativity on cosmological scales through redshift-space distortion measurements, new tests for non-Gaussianity in the primordial density field, and new constraints on the summed mass of all neutrino species. Here, we provide an overview of the cosmological goals, spectroscopic target sample, demonstration of spectral quality from early data, and projected cosmological constraints from eBOSS.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · The Astronomical Journal
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We combine deep X-ray survey data from the Chandra observatory and the wide-area/shallow XMM-XXL field to estimate the AGN X-ray luminosity function in the redshift range z=3-5. The sample consists of nearly 340 sources with either photometric (212) or spectroscopic (128) redshift in the above range. The combination of deep and shallow survey fields provides a luminosity baseline of three orders of magnitude, Lx(2-10keV)~1e43-1e46erg/s at z>3. We follow a Bayesian approach to determine the binned AGN space density and explore their evolution in a model-independent way. Our methodology accounts for Poisson errors in the determination of X-ray fluxes and uncertainties in photometric redshift estimates. We demonstrate that the latter is essential for unbiased measurement of space densities. We find that the AGN X-ray luminosity function evolves strongly between the redshift intervals z=3-4 and z=4-5. There is also suggestive evidence that the amplitude of this evolution is luminosity dependent. The space density of AGN with Lx<1e45erg/s drops by a factor of 5 between the redshift intervals above, while the evolution of brighter AGN appears to be milder. Comparison of our X-ray luminosity function with that of UV/optical selected QSOs at similar redshifts shows broad agreement at bright luminosities, Lx>1e45erg/s. The faint-end slope of UV/optical luminosity functions however, is steeper than for X-ray selected AGN. This implies that the type-I AGN fraction increases with decreasing luminosity at z>3, opposite to trends established at lower redshift. We also assess the significance of AGN in keeping the hydrogen ionised at high redshift. Our X-ray luminosity function yields ionising photon rate densities that are insufficient to keep the Universe ionised at redshift z>4. A source of uncertainty in this calculation is the escape fraction of UV photons for X-ray selected AGN.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We argue that the `changing look' AGN recently reported by LaMassa et al. could in fact be a luminous flare produced by the tidal disruption of a super-solar mass star passing just a few gravitational radii outside the event horizon of a $\sim 10^8 M_{\odot}$ nuclear black hole. This flare occurred in a massive, star forming galaxy at redshift $z=0.312$, which is robustly characterized thanks to repeated late-time photometric and spectroscopic observations. By taking difference-photometry of the well sampled multi-year SDSS Stripe-82 light-curve, we are able to probe the evolution of the nuclear spectrum over the course of the outburst. The tidal disruption event (TDE) interpretation is consistent with the very rapid rise and the decay time of the flare, which displays an evolution consistent with the well-known $t^{-5/3}$ behaviour, and would otherwise be inconsistent with a viscous draining of a large-scale accretion disc. Our analysis places strong constraints on the physical properties of the TDE, such as the putative disrupted star's mass and orbital parameters, as well as the size and temperature of the emitting material. Assuming standard (and conservative) bolometric corrections, this would be amongst the most luminous non-beamed tidal disruption flares discovered so far, and the only one observed from a black hole as massive as $\sim 10^8 M_{\odot}$. The properties of the broad and narrow emission lines observed in two epochs of SDSS spectra provide further constraints on the circum-nuclear structure, and could be indicative that the system hosted a moderate-luminosity AGN as recently as a few $10^4$ years ago. We discuss the complex interplay between tidal disruption events and gas accretion episodes in galactic nuclei, highlighting the implications for future TDE searches and for estimates of their intrinsic rates.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2015 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    S. D. Connolly · I. M. McHardy · T. Dwelly
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present analysis of the long-term X-ray spectral variability of Seyfert galaxies as observed by Swift, which provides well-sampled observations over a much larger flux range and a much longer timescale than any other X-ray observatory. We examine long-term variability of three AGN: NGC 1365 (see Connolly et al. 2014), Mkn 335 and NGC 5548. At high fluxes, the 0.5-10 keV spectra soften with increasing flux, as seen previously within the 2-10 keV band. However, at very low fluxes the sources also become very soft. We have fitted a number of models to the data and find that both intrinsic luminosity variability and variable absorption are required to explain the observations. In some systems, e.g. NGC 1365, the best explanation is a two-component wind model in which one component represents direct emission absorbed by a disc wind wind, with the absorbing column inversely proportional to the intrinsic luminosity, and the second component represents unabsorbed emission reflected from the wind. In other AGN the situation is more complex.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2015
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report on the largest Swift AGN monitoring program, concerning UV/optical variability in Seyferts. From 554 observations, over a 750d period, of the Seyfert galaxy NGC 5548, we see (McHardy et al. 2014) a good overall correlation between the X-ray and UV/optical bands,particularly on short timescales (tens of days). The UVOT bands are found to lag behind X-rays with a lag scaling as wavelength to the power 1.23 +/- 0.31, in excellent agreement with that expected (1.33) if UV/optical variability arises from reprocessing of X-rays by the accretion disc. However, the observed lags are ~3 times longer than expected from a standard Shakura-Sunyaev disc, raising real concerns about the detailed validity of this model. The results can be explained with a slightly larger mass and accretion rate, and a hotter disc, or if the disc is clumpy, thereby enhancing the emission from the outer regions.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2015
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The third generation of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-III) took data from 2008 to 2014 using the original SDSS wide-field imager, the original and an upgraded multi-object fiber-fed optical spectrograph, a new near-infrared high-resolution spectrograph, and a novel optical interferometer. All the data from SDSS-III are now made public. In particular, this paper describes Data Release 11 (DR11) including all data acquired through 2013 July, and Data Release 12 (DR12) adding data acquired through 2014 July (including all data included in previous data releases), marking the end of SDSS-III observing. Relative to our previous public release (DR10), DR12 adds one million new spectra of galaxies and quasars from the Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey (BOSS) over an additional 3000 sq. deg of sky, more than triples the number of H-band spectra of stars as part of the Apache Point Observatory (APO) Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE), and includes repeated accurate radial velocity measurements of 5500 stars from the Multi-Object APO Radial Velocity Exoplanet Large-area Survey (MARVELS). The APOGEE outputs now include measured abundances of 15 different elements for each star. In total, SDSS-III added 5200 sq. deg of ugriz imaging; 155,520 spectra of 138,099 stars as part of the Sloan Exploration of Galactic Understanding and Evolution 2 (SEGUE-2) survey; 2,497,484 BOSS spectra of 1,372,737 galaxies, 294,512 quasars, and 247,216 stars over 9376 sq. deg; 618,080 APOGEE spectra of 156,593 stars; and 197,040 MARVELS spectra of 5,513 stars. Since its first light in 1998, SDSS has imaged over 1/3 the Celestial sphere in five bands and obtained over five million astronomical spectra.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: AX J1745.6-2901 is a high-inclination (eclipsing) neutron star low-mass X-ray binary (LMXB) located less than ∼1.5 arcmin from Sgr A⋆. Ongoing monitoring campaigns have targeted Sgr A⋆ frequently and these observations also cover AX J1745.6-2901. We present here an X-ray analysis of AX J1745.6-2901 using a large data set of 38 XMM–Newton observations, including 11 which caught AX J1745.6-2901 in outburst. Fe K absorption is clearly seen when AX J1745.6-2901 is in the soft state, but disappears during the hard state. The variability of these absorption features does not appear to be due to changes in the ionizing continuum. The small Kα/Kβ ratio of the equivalent widths of the Fe xxv and Fe xxvi lines suggests that the column densities and turbulent velocities of the absorbing ionized plasma are in excess of NH ≃ 1023 cm−2 and vturb ≳ 500 km s−1. These findings strongly support a connection between the wind (Fe K absorber) and the accretion state of the binary. These results reveal strong similarities between AX J1745.6-2901 and the eclipsing neutron star LMXB, EXO 0748-676, as well as with high-inclination black hole binaries, where winds (traced by the same Fe K absorption features) are observed only during the accretion-disc-dominated soft states, and disappear during the hard states characterized by jet emission.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Long-duration gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) are indisputably related to star formation, and their vast luminosity in gamma rays pin-points regions of star formation independent of galaxy mass. As such, GRBs provide a unique tool for studying star forming galaxies out to high-z independent of luminosity. Most of our understanding of the properties of GRB hosts (GRBHs) comes from optical and near-infrared (NIR) follow-up observations, and we therefore have relatively little knowledge of the fraction of dust-enshrouded star formation that resides within GRBHs. Currently ~20% of GRBs show evidence of significant amounts of dust along the line of sight to the afterglow through the host galaxy, and these GRBs tend to reside within redder and more massive galaxies than GRBs with optically bright afterglows. In this paper we present Herschel observations of five GRBHs with evidence of being dust-rich, targeted to understand the dust attenuation properties within GRBs better. Despite the sensitivity of our Herschel observations, only one galaxy in our sample was detected (GRBH 070306), for which we measure a total star formation rate (SFR) of ~100Mstar/yr, and which had a relatively high stellar mass (log[Mstar]=10.34+0.09/-0.04). Nevertheless, when considering a larger sample of GRBHs observed with Herschel, it is clear that stellar mass is not the only factor contributing to a Herschel detection, and significant dust extinction along the GRB sightline (A_{V,GRB}>1.5~mag) appears to be a considerably better tracer of GRBHs with high dust mass. This suggests that the extinguishing dust along the GRB line of sight lies predominantly within the host galaxy ISM, and thus those GRBs with A_{V,GRB}>1~mag but with no host galaxy Herschel detections are likely to have been predominantly extinguished by dust within an intervening dense cloud.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2014 · Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The 4MOST[1] instrument is a concept for a wide-field, fibre-fed high multiplex spectroscopic instrument facility on the ESO VISTA telescope designed to perform a massive (initially >25×106 spectra in 5 years) combined all-sky public survey. The main science drivers are: Gaia follow up of chemo-dynamical structure of the Milky Way, stellar radial velocities, parameters and abundances, chemical tagging; eROSITA follow up of cosmology with x-ray clusters of galaxies, X-ray AGN/galaxy evolution to z∼5, Galactic X-ray sources and resolving the Galactic edge; Euclid/LSST/SKA and other survey follow up of Dark Energy, Galaxy evolution and transients. The surveys will be undertaken simultaneously requiring: highly advanced targeting and scheduling software, also comprehensive data reduction and analysis tools to produce high-level data products. The instrument will allow simultaneous observations of ∼1600 targets at R∼5,000 from 390-900nm and ∼800 targets at R<18,000 in three channels between ∼395-675nm (channel bandwidth: 45nm blue, 57nm green and 69nm red) over a hexagonal field of view of ∼ 4.1 degrees. The initial 5-year 4MOST survey is currently expect to start in 2020. We provide and overview of the 4MOST systems: optomechanical, control, data management and operations concepts; and initial performance estimates.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2014
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Lags measured from correlated X-ray/UV/optical monitoring of AGN allow us to determine whether UV/optical variability is driven by reprocessing of X-rays or X-ray variability is driven by UV/optical seed photon variations. We present the results of the largest study to date of the relationship between the X-ray, UV and optical variability in an AGN with 554 observations, over a 750 d period, of the Seyfert 1 galaxy NGC 5548 with Swift. There is a good overall correlation between the X-ray and UV/optical bands, particularly on short time-scales (tens of days). The UV/optical bands lag the X-ray band with lags which are proportional to wavelength raised to the power 1.23 ± 0.31. This power is very close to the power (4/3) expected if short time-scale UV/optical variability is driven by reprocessing of X-rays by a surrounding accretion disc. The observed lags, however, are longer than expected from a standard Shakura–Sunyaev accretion disc with X-ray heating, given the currently accepted black hole mass and accretion rate values, but can be explained with a slightly larger mass and accretion rate, and a generally hotter disc. Some long-term UV/optical variations are not paralleled exactly in the X-rays, suggesting an additional component to the UV/optical variability arising perhaps from accretion rate perturbations propagating inwards through the disc.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2014 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We will present new soft and hard X-ray mosaics, including over 100 XMM-Newton observations pointed within 1degree of SgrA*. Both soft X-ray continuum and emission lines (Sixiii, Sxv, Arxvii and Caxix) maps will be described. We will discuss the nature of several extended features in the vicinity of SgrA*. This includes the 20-pc scale bipolar lobes, a super bubble candidate and the soft emission peaking around G0.11-0.11. The data reveal several features having considerable extents in Galactic latitude, suggesting the presence of hot plasma overlying the Central Molecular Zone (CMZ). We will discuss the spatial relationship of this plasma to known radio/mid-IR features as well as the question of whether this hot gas is an inhomogeneous "atmosphere" over the CMZ or whether it is a reservoir for much larger-scale-features that represent continuous/episodic outflows of mass and energy from the Galactic center. We will also present the FeKalpha, Fexxv and hard X-ray continuum maps. By examining X-ray reflecting clouds of the CMZ and their fluorescent FeKalpha emission, we can place constraints on SgrA*'s X-ray activity during the past millennium. The comparison between surveys performed between 2000 and 2012 shows a general decay of the reflected emission over the past decade.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2014
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    S. D. Connolly · I. M. McHardy · T. Dwelly
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present long-term (months-years) X-ray spectral variability of the Seyfert 1.8 galaxy NGC 1365 as observed by Swift, which provides well sampled observations over a much longer timescale (6 years) and a much larger flux range than is afforded by other observatories. At very low luminosities the spectrum is very soft, becoming rapidly harder as the luminosity increases and then, above a particular luminosity, softening again. At a given flux level, the scatter in hardness ratio is not very large, meaning that the spectral shape is largely determined by the luminosity. The spectra were therefore summed in luminosity bins and fitted with a variety of models. The best fitting model consists of two power laws, one unabsorbed and another, more luminous, which is absorbed. In this model, we find a range of intrinsic 0.5-10.0 keV luminosities of approximately 1.1-3.5 ergs/s, and a very large range of absorbing columns, of approximately 10^22 - 10^24 cm^-2. Interestingly, we find that the absorbing column decreases with increasing luminosity, but that this result is not due to changes in ionisation. We suggest that these observations might be interpreted in terms of a wind model in which the launch radius varies as a function of ionising flux and disc temperature and therefore moves out with increasing accretion rate, i.e. increasing X-ray luminosity. Thus, depending on the inclination angle of the disc relative to the observer, the absorbing column may decrease as the accretion rate goes up. The weaker, unabsorbed, component may be a scattered component from the wind.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The immensely bright and intrinsically simple afterglow spectra of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) have proven to be highly effective probes of the interstellar dust and gas in distant, star-forming galaxies. Despite significant progress, many aspects of the host galaxy attenuating material are still poorly understood. There is considerable discrepancy between the amount of X-ray and optical afterglow absorption, with the former typically an order of magnitude higher than what would be expected from the optical line absorption of neutral element species. Similar inconsistencies exist between the abundance of interstellar dust derived from spectroscopic and photometric data, and the relation between the line-of-sight and integrated host galaxy interstellar medium (ISM) remains unclear. In these proceedings we present our analysis on both spectroscopic and photometric multi-wavelength GRB afterglow data, and summarise some of the more recent results on the attenuation properties of the ISM within GRB host galaxies.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2012 · Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The 4MOST consortium is currently halfway through a Conceptual Design study for ESO with the aim to develop a wide-field (>3 square degree, goal >5 square degree), high-multiplex (>1500 fibres, goal 3000 fibres) spectroscopic survey facility for an ESO 4m-class telescope (VISTA). 4MOST will run permanently on the telescope to perform a 5 year public survey yielding more than 20 million spectra at resolution R~5000 ({\lambda}=390-1000 nm) and more than 2 million spectra at R~20,000 (395-456.5 nm & 587-673 nm). The 4MOST design is especially intended to complement three key all-sky, space-based observatories of prime European interest: Gaia, eROSITA and Euclid. Initial design and performance estimates for the wide-field corrector concepts are presented. We consider two fibre positioner concepts, a well-known Phi-Theta system and a new R-Theta concept with a large patrol area. The spectrographs are fixed configuration two-arm spectrographs, with dedicated spectrographs for the high- and low-resolution. A full facility simulator is being developed to guide trade-off decisions regarding the optimal field-of-view, number of fibres needed, and the relative fraction of high-to-low resolution fibres. Mock catalogues with template spectra from seven Design Reference Surveys are simulated to verify the science requirements of 4MOST. The 4MOST consortium aims to deliver the full 4MOST facility by the end of 2018 and start delivering high-level data products for both consortium and ESO community targets a year later with yearly increments.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2012 · Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Results are presented from a 500ks long XMM-Newton observation of the Narrow-Line Seyfert 1 galaxy IRAS13224-3809. The source is rapidly variable on timescales down to a few 100s. The spectrum shows strong broad Fe-K and L emission features which are interpreted as arising from reflection from the inner parts of an accretion disc around a rapidly spinning black hole. Assuming a power-law emissivity for the reflected flux and that the innermost radius corresponds to the innermost stable circular orbit, the black hole spin is measured to be 0.988 with a statistical precision better than one per cent. Systematic uncertainties are discussed. A soft X-ray lag of 100s confirms this scenario. The bulk of the power-law continuum source is located at a radius of 2-3 gravitational radii.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2012 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report the results of a one year Swift X-ray/UV/optical programme monitoring the dwarf Seyfert nucleus in NGC 4395 in 2008-2009. The UV/optical flux from the nucleus was found to vary dramatically over the monitoring period, with a similar pattern of variation in each of the observed UV/optical bands (spanning 1900 - 5500 {\AA}). In particular, the luminosity of NGC 4395 in the 1900 {\AA} band changed by more than a factor of eight over the monitoring period. The fractional variability was smaller in the UV/optical bands than that seen in the X-rays, with the X-ray/optical ratio increasing with increasing flux. Pseudo-instantaneous flux measurements in the X-ray and each UV/optical band were well correlated, with cross correlation coefficients of >0.7, significant at 99.9 per cent confidence. Archival Swift observations from 2006 sample the intra-day X-ray/optical variability on NGC 4395. These archival data show a very strong correlation between the X-ray and b bands, with a cross-correlation coefficient of 0.84 (significant at >99 per cent confidence). The peak in the cross correlation function is marginally resolved and asymmetric, suggesting that X-rays lead the b band, but by 1 hour. In response to recent (August 2011) very high X-ray flux levels from NGC4395 we triggered Swift ToO observations, which sample the intra-hour X-ray/UV variability. These observations indicate, albeit with large uncertainties, a lag of the 1900 {\AA} band behind the X-ray flux of ~400 s. The tight correlation between the X-ray and UV/optical lightcurves, together with the constraints we place on lag time-scale are consistent with the UV/optical variability of NGC 4395 being primarily due to reprocessing of X-ray photons by the accretion disc.
    Preview · Article · Feb 2012 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The composition and amount of interstellar dust within gamma-ray burst (GRB) host galaxies is of key importance when addressing selection effects in the GRB redshift distribution, and when studying the properties of their host galaxies. As well as the implications for GRB research, probing the dust within the high-z hosts of GRBs also contributes to our understanding of the conditions of the interstellar medium and star-formation in the distant Universe. Nevertheless, the physical properties of dust within GRB host galaxies continues to be a highly contended issue. In these proceedings we present our analysis on the mean extinction properties of dust within the host galaxies of 17 GRBs with total host galaxy visual extinction A_V<1, covering a redshift range z=0.7-3.1, and compare these results to the extinction curve properties of more heavily extinguished GRBs (A_V>1).
    Preview · Article · Jan 2012

Publication Stats

613 Citations
148.95 Total Impact Points


  • 2012-2015
    • Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics
      Arching, Bavaria, Germany
  • 2009-2015
    • University of Southampton
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Southampton, England, United Kingdom
  • 2005-2006
    • UCL Eastman Dental Institute
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom