NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2010A-0433

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Proposal Information for 2010A-0433


PI: Daniel M. Capellupo, University of Florida, dancaps@astro.ufl.edu
Address: Astronomy Department, 211 Bryant Space Science Center, Gainesville, FL 32611-2055, USA

CoI: Fred Hamann, University of Florida
CoI: Joseph C. Shields, Ohio University

Title: Probing Quasar Outflows via Short-Time Variability

Abstract: Broad absorption lines (BALs) in quasar spectra identify high velocity outflows that likely exist in all quasars and could play a major role in feedback to galaxy evolution. Quasar outflows might also be an integral part of the accretion process and the growth of supermassive black holes (SMBHs), by allowing the accreting material to release angular momentum. Variability studies provide crucial constraints on the locations, structure (clumpiness), size scales and kinematic properties of the outflowing gas. These are fundamental parameters needed to test theoretical models and determine the kinetic energy yields available for feedback. We are conducting a multi-year program to monitor BAL variability in 25 quasars across time scales from 7.7 yr to <1 month in the quasar rest frame. We find that >50% of quasar BALs vary on times of >4 yr, with smaller variability fractions at lower speeds and shorter time intervals. A few cases show variability in <1 month, but this important short-time domain is very poorly sampled in all previous work. Here we propose to complete our monitoring program by combining new 2.1-m GoldCam observations with spectra obtained at other telescopes (also in 2010A) to measure the poorly understood short-time domain and thereby obtain the best available constraints on BAL outflow properties.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2010A-0433

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