Faculty Research at Morehead State University


Space Telescope and Optical Reverberation Mapping Project: I. Ultraviolet Observations of the Seyfert 1 Galaxy NGC 5548


Dirk Grupe

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We describe the first results from a six-month long reverberation-mapping experiment in the ultraviolet based on 171 observations of the Seyfert 1 galaxy NGC 5548 with the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph on the Hubble Space Telescope. Significant correlated variability is found in the continuum and broad emission lines, with amplitudes ranging from ∼30% to a factor of two in the emission lines and a factor of three in the continuum. The variations of all the strong emission lines lag behind those of the continuum, with He II λ1640 lagging behind the continuum by ∼2.5 days and Lyα λ1215, C IV λ1550, and Si IV λ1400 lagging by ∼5–6 days. The relationship between the continuum and emission lines is complex. In particular, during the second half of the campaign, all emission-line lags increased by a factor of 1.3–2 and differences appear in the detailed structure of the continuum and emission line light curves. Velocity-resolved cross-correlation analysis shows coherent structure in lag versus line of sight velocity for the emission lines; the high-velocity wings of C IV respond to continuum variations more rapidly than the line core, probably indicating higher velocity broad-line region clouds at smaller distances from the central engine. The velocity-dependent response of Lyα, however, is more complex and will require further analysis.