NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2016A-0117

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Program Information for 2016A-0117


PI: Jonathan Stern, Max Planck Institut fur Astrophysik, stern@mpia.de
Address: Koenigstuhl 17, Heidelberg 69117 Germany

CoI: Joe Hennawi, Max Planck Institut fur Astrophysik
CoI: Jorg-Uwe Pott, Max Planck Institut fur Astrophysik
CoI: Aaron Barth, UC Irvine

Title: Spatially Resolving the Kinematics of the ~100 uas Quasar Broad Line Region Using Spectroastrometry

Abstract: The broad line region (BLR) in luminous quasars is both a useful tool to measure black hole masses over cosmic history, and the most prominent observational signature of the accretion flow at ~10^4 gravitational radii. However, the BLR is not directly resolvable, due to its <100 uas angular size. Current constraints on BLR kinematics are restricted to those provided by reverberation mapping studies, which are limited to nearby low luminosity quasars. We propose to constrain the BLR size and kinematic structure of two hyper-luminous quasars (L=10^48 ergs s^-1) using spectro-astrometry, where one uses AO + spectroscopy to measure the photon centroid as a function of broad line velocity. If successful, this program will provide the first direct evidence on ordered motions in the BLR, and usher in a new technique to constrain the black hole masses and the accretion flow geometry of luminous high-redshift quasars. This novel approach also provides a compelling science case for next generation 30m-class telescopes.

Program Type: Standard/Extragalactic

Scheduled Nights:
Run 1 (2016A):  GEM-NQ/GNIRS -- 15hrs band 1 (GN-2016A-Q-7)


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NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2016A-0117

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