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  • 2111.01180v1

    Rights statement: (c) ESO2022

    Accepted author manuscript, 2.85 MB, PDF document

    Embargo ends: 20/04/23

    Available under license: CC BY-NC: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License


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Black hole virial masses from single-epoch photometry: the miniJPAS test case

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

  • Jonás Chaves-Montero
  • Silvia Bonoli
  • Benny Trakhtenbrot
  • Alejandro Fernández-Centeno
  • Carolina Queiroz
  • Luis A. Díaz-García
  • Rosa María González Delgado
  • Antonio Hernán-Caballero
  • Carlos Hernández-Monteagudo
  • Carlos Lópen-Sanjuan
  • Roderik Overzier
  • L. Raul Abramo
  • Jailson Alcaniz
  • Narciso Benitez
  • Saulo Carneiro
  • A. Javier Cenarro
  • David Cristóbal-Hornillos
  • Renato A. Dupke
  • Antonio Marín-Franch
  • Claudia Mendes de Oliveira
  • Mariano Moles
  • Laerte Sodré Jr
  • Keith Taylor
  • Jesús Varela
  • Héctor Vázquez Ramió
  • Tamara Civera
Article numberA95
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/04/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>Astronomy and Astrophysics
Number of pages16
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date20/04/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Precise measurements of black hole (BH) masses are essential to understanding the coevolution of these sources and their host galaxies. In this work, we develop a novel approach to compute BH virial masses using measurements of continuum luminosities and emission line widths from partially-overlapping, narrow-band observations of quasars; we refer to this technique as single-epoch photometry. This novel method relies on forward-modelling quasar observations to estimate the previous properties, which enables accurate measurements of emission line widths even for lines poorly resolved by narrow-band data. We assess the performance of this technique using quasars from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) observed by the miniJPAS survey, a proof-of-concept project of the J-PAS collaboration covering $\simeq1\,\mathrm{deg}^2$ of the northern sky using the 56 J-PAS narrow-band filters. We find remarkable agreement between BH masses from single-epoch SDSS spectra and single-epoch miniJPAS photometry, with no systematic difference between these and a scatter ranging from 0.4 to 0.07 dex for masses from $\log(M_\mathrm{BH}/\mathrm{M}_\odot)\simeq8$ to 9.75, respectively. Reverberation mapping studies show that single-epoch masses approximately present 0.4 dex precision, letting us conclude that our novel technique delivers BH masses with only mildly worse precision than single-epoch spectroscopy. The J-PAS survey will soon start observing thousands of square degrees without any source preselection other than the photometric depth in the detection band, and thus single-epoch photometry has the potential to provide details on the physical properties of quasar populations not satisfying the preselection criteria of previous spectroscopic surveys.

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(c) ESO2022