PROBING SPECTROSCOPIC VARIABILITY OF GALAXIES AND NARROW-LINE ACTIVE GALACTIC NUCLEI IN THE SLOAN DIGITAL SKY SURVEY
Yip, CW; Connolly, AJ; Berk, DEV; Scranton, R; Krughoff, S; Szalay, AS; Dobos, L; Tremonti, C; Taghizadeh-Popp, M; Budavari, T
WoS ID: 000266662300049
Scopus ID: 84882938830
Under the unified model for active galactic nuclei (AGNs), narrow-line (Type 2) AGNs are, in fact, broadline (Type 1) AGNs but each with a heavily obscured accretion disk. We would therefore expect the optical continuum emission from Type 2 AGNs to be composed mainly of stellar light and nonvariable on the timescales of months to years. In this work we probe the spectroscopic variability of galaxies and narrow-line AGNs using the multiepoch data in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 6. The sample contains 18,435 sources for which there exist pairs of spectroscopic observations (with a maximum separation in time of similar to 700 days) covering a wavelength range of 3900-8900 angstrom. To obtain a reliable repeatability measurement between each spectral pair, we consider a number of techniques for spectrophotometric calibration resulting in an improved spectrophotometric calibration of a factor of 2. From these data we find no obvious continuum and emission-line variability in the narrow-line AGNs on average-the spectroscopic variability of the continuum is 0.07 +/- 0.26 mag in the g band and, for the emission-line ratios log(10)([N II]/H alpha) and log(10)([O III]/H beta), the variability is 0.02 +/- 0.03 dex and 0.06 +/- 0.08 dex, respectively. From the continuum variability measurement we set an upper limit on the ratio between the flux of the varying spectral component, presumably related to AGN activities, and that of the host galaxy to be similar to 30%. We provide the corresponding upper limits for other spectral classes, including those from the BPT diagram, eClass galaxy classification, stars, and quasars.