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2017MNRAS.464..553R - Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 464, 553-563 (2017/January-1)

How similar are the properties of quasars with nearly identical ultraviolet spectra?


Abstract (from CDS):

The spectrum of a quasar contains important information about its properties. Thus, it can be expected that two quasars with similar spectra will have similar properties, but just how similar has not before been quantified. Here we compare the ultraviolet spectra of a sample of 5553 quasars from Data Release 7 of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, focusing on the 1350 Å <=λ <= 2900 Å rest-frame region which contains prominent emission lines from Si IV, O IV], C IV, C III], and Mg II species. We use principal component analysis to determine the dominant components of spectral variation, as well as to quantitatively measure spectral similarity. As suggested by both the Baldwin effect and modified Baldwin effect, quasars with similar spectra have similar properties: bolometric luminosity, Eddington fraction, and black hole mass. The latter two quantities are calculated from the luminosity in conjunction with spectral features, and the variation between quasars with virtually identical spectra (which we call doppelgangers) is driven by the variance in the luminosity plus measurement uncertainties. In the doppelgangers the luminosity differences show 1σ uncertainties of 57 per cent (or 0.63 mag) and ∼70 per cent 1σ uncertainties for mass and Eddington fraction. Much of the difference in luminosities may be attributable to time lags between the spectral lines and the continuum. Furthermore, we find that suggestions that the mostly highly accreting quasars should be better standard candles than other quasars are not borne out for doppelgangers. Finally, we discuss the implications for using quasars as cosmological probes and the nature of the first two spectral principal components.

Abstract Copyright: © 2016 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society

Journal keyword(s): galaxies: active - quasars: general - quasars: general

VizieR on-line data: <Available at CDS (J/MNRAS/464/553): table2.dat>

Simbad objects: 1170

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