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Mapping the Inner Structure of Quasars with Time-Domain Spectroscopy

Shen, Yue and Graham, Matthew and Jencson, Jacob and Kasliwal, Mansi and Prakash, Abhishek (2019) Mapping the Inner Structure of Quasars with Time-Domain Spectroscopy. Astro2020 Science White Paper, . (Unpublished)

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The ubiquitous variability of quasars across a wide range of wavelengths and timescales encodes critical information about the structure and dynamics of the circumnuclear emitting regions that are too small to be directly resolved, as well as detailed underlying physics of accretion and feedback processes in these active supermassive black holes. We emphasize the importance of studying quasar variability with time-domain spectroscopy, focusing on two science cases: (1) reverberation mapping (RM) to measure the broad-line region sizes and black hole masses in distant quasars; (2) spectroscopic follow-up of extreme variability quasars that dramatically change their continuum and broad-line flux within several years. We highlight the need for dedicated optical-infrared spectroscopic survey facilities in the coming decades to accompany wide-area time-domain imaging surveys, including: (1) the next phase of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-V; ~2020-2025), an all-sky, time-domain multi-object spectroscopic survey with 2.5m-class telescopes; (2) the planned Maunakea Spectroscopic Explorer, a dedicated 10m-class spectroscopic survey telescope with a 1.5 deg^2 field-of-view and multiplex of thousands of fibers in both optical and near-IR (J+H) to begin operations in 2029; (3) the Time-domain Spectroscopic Observatory (TSO), a proposed Probe-class ~1.3m telescope at L2, with imaging and spectroscopy (R=200, 1800) in 4 bands (0.3 - 5 micron) and rapid slew capability to 90% of sky, which will extend the coverage of Hβ to z=8.

Item Type:Report or Paper (White Paper)
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Shen, Yue0000-0003-1659-7035
Graham, Matthew0000-0002-3168-0139
Jencson, Jacob0000-0001-5754-4007
Kasliwal, Mansi0000-0002-5619-4938
Prakash, Abhishek0000-0003-4451-4444
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC), Astronomy Department
Series Name:Astro2020 Science White Paper
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20191002-075340043
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:99002
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:02 Oct 2019 14:58
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:19

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