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FeLoBAL Outflow Variability Constraints from Multi-Year Observations

  • Sean M. McGraw (a1), Joseph C. Shields (a1), Frederick W. Hamann (a2), Daniel M. Capellupo (a3), Sarah C. Gallagher (a4) and William N. Brandt (a5)...

Abstract

The physical properties and dynamical behavior of Broad Absorption Line (BAL) outflows are crucial themes in understanding the connections between galactic centers and their hosts. FeLoBALs (identified with the presence of low-ionization Fe II BALs) are a peculiar class of quasar outflows that constitute ~ 1% of the BAL population. With their large column densities and apparent outflow kinetic luminosities, FeLoBALs appear to be exceptionally powerful and are strong candidates for feedback in galaxy evolution. We conducted variability studies of 12 FeLoBAL quasars with emission redshifts 0.69 ≤ z ≤ 1.93, spanning both weekly and multi-year timescales in the quasar's rest frame. We detected absorption-line variability from low-ionization species (Fe II, Mg II) in four of our objects, with which we established a representative upper limit for the distance of the absorber from the supermassive black hole (SMBH) to be ~20 parsecs. Our goals are to understand the mechanisms producing the variability (e.g. ionization changes or gas traversing our line of sight) and place new constraints on the locations, structure, and kinetic energies of the outflows.

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References

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