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A Luminous Transient Event in a Sample of WISE-selected Variable AGNs

Assef, R. J. and Prieto, J. L. and Stern, D. and Cutri, R. M. and Eisenhardt, P. R. M. and Graham, M. J. and Jun, H. D. and Rest, A. and Flewelling, H. A. and Kaiser, N. and Kudritzki, R.-P. and Waters, C. (2018) A Luminous Transient Event in a Sample of WISE-selected Variable AGNs. Astrophysical Journal, 866 (1). Art. No. 26. ISSN 0004-637X.

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Recently Assef et al. presented two catalogs of active galactic nucleus (AGN) candidates over 30,093 deg^2 selected from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) observations. From their most reliable sample, Assef et al. identified 45 AGN candidates with the highest variability levels in the AllWISE catalog but that are not blazars. Here we present new spectroscopic observations of some of these targets to further constrain their nature. We also study their optical light curves using observations from the Catalina Real-Time Transient Survey (CRTS) and find that only seven show significant optical variability, and that five of those seven are spectroscopically classified as AGNs. In one of them, WISEA J094806.56+031801.7 (W0948+0318), we identify a transient event in the CRTS light curve. We present a detailed analysis of this transient and characterize it through its CRTS light curve and its multiwavelength spectral energy distribution obtained from GALEX, Pan-STARRS, and WISE observations. We find that the most likely source of the transient is a superluminous supernova (SLSN) in W0948+0318. We estimate the total radiated energy to be E = (1.6 ± 0.3) × 10^(52) erg, making it one of the most energetic SLSNe observed. Based on the lack of change in mid-IR color throughout and after the transient event, we speculate that the location of the SLSN is within the torus of the AGN. We identify nine possible analogs to W0948+0318 based on their WISE light curves. None show optically detected transients and hence suggest significant dust obscuration. Finally, we estimate a rate of >2 × 10^(−7) yr^(−1) per AGN for these transients under the conservative assumption that none of the identified analogs have a common origin with the transient in W0948+0318.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Assef, R. J.0000-0002-9508-3667
Prieto, J. L.0000-0003-0943-0026
Stern, D.0000-0003-2686-9241
Cutri, R. M.0000-0002-0077-2305
Graham, M. J.0000-0002-3168-0139
Jun, H. D.0000-0003-1470-5901
Flewelling, H. A.0000-0002-1050-4056
Kaiser, N.0000-0001-6511-4306
Waters, C.0000-0003-1989-4879
Additional Information:© 2018. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2018 July 19; revised 2018 August 22; accepted 2018 August 28; published 2018 October 5. The authors would like to thank Krisztina Gabanyi and the anonymous referee for comments and suggestions that helped improve the article. The authors would also like to thank Christopher S. Kochanek for discussions and suggestions that helped make this a better paper. We would like to thank Hannah Earnshaw, Marianne Heida, Ashish Mahabal, and Gaël Noirot for obtaining observations used in this article. R. J. A. was supported by FONDECYT grant no. 1151408. Support for J.L.P. is provided in part by the Ministry of Economy, Development, and Tourisms Millennium Science Initiative through grant IC120009, awarded to The Millennium Institute of Astrophysics, MAS. H.D.J. is supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education (NRF-2017R1A6A3A04005158). This research has made use of the NASA/IPAC Infrared Science Archive, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. This publication makes use of data products from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, which is a joint project of the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, and NEOWISE, which is a project of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology. WISE and NEOWISE are funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Pan-STARRS1 Surveys (PS1) have been made possible through contributions of the Institute for Astronomy, the University of Hawaii, the Pan-STARRS Project Office, the Max-Planck Society and its participating institutes, the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, Heidelberg, and the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching, Johns Hopkins University, Durham University, the University of Edinburgh, Queen's University Belfast, the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network Incorporated, the National Central University of Taiwan, the Space Telescope Science Institute, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under grant no. NNX08AR22G issued through the Planetary Science Division of the NASA Science Mission Directorate, the National Science Foundation under grant no. AST-1238877, the University of Maryland, and Eotvos Lorand University (ELTE), and the Los Alamos National Laboratory. Funding for SDSS-III has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Participating Institutions, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. The SDSS-III website is SDSS-III is managed by the Astrophysical Research Consortium for the Participating Institutions of the SDSS-III Collaboration, including the University of Arizona, the Brazilian Participation Group, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Florida, the French Participation Group, the German Participation Group, Harvard University, the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, the Michigan State/Notre Dame/JINA Participation Group, Johns Hopkins University, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics, New Mexico State University, New York University, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Portsmouth, Princeton University, the Spanish Participation Group, University of Tokyo, University of Utah, Vanderbilt University, University of Virginia, University of Washington, and Yale University. The CSS survey is funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under grant no. NNG05GF22G issued through the Science Mission Directorate Near-Earth Objects Observations Program. The CRTS survey is supported by the U.S. National Science Foundation under grant AST-0909182.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Científico y Tecnológico (FONDECYT)1151408
Iniciativa Científica Milenio del Ministerio de Economía, Fomento y TurismoIC120009
National Research Foundation of Korea2017R1A6A3A04005158
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Department of Energy (DOE)UNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:galaxies: active; infrared: general; quasars: general; supernovae: general
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20181005-093939888
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:R. J. Assef et al 2018 ApJ 866 26
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:90142
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:05 Oct 2018 18:40
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 20:22

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