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Scholars Day: April 10, 2013

Rapid Emission Line Variations in Quasars from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Database

Quasars are among the most distant and luminous objects in the universe. Models suggest that their luminosity results from an accretion disk of gas surrounding a supermassive black hole, while ‘clouds’ of gas further out are ionized by the disk and are therefore seen in emission. The purpose of this research was to search for changes in emission line flux over timescales of a few hours. Such changes could result from flares of ionizing radiation on the disk that later reach the more-distant emission line region. We identified a sample of 74 bright, high-redshift (z>3.3) quasars from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Database (SDSS), and split each publicly available quasar spectrum into its individual sub-exposures. We used the sub-exposures to measure fluxes due to emission lines of hydrogen and carbon and compared them to the continuum flux, searching for changes over the course of each observation

Presenter: Stephanie Hathaway (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: Physics
Location: Fireside Lounge, Seymour Union
Time: 9:30 am (Session I)
Please note that presentation times are approximate. If you are interested in attending sessions with multiple presentations, please be in the room at the start of the session.