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Continuum reverberation mapping of AGN accretion disks

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Michael M. Fausnaugh, Bradley M. Peterson, David Starkey, Keith Horne, and the AGN STORM Collaboration

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We show recent detections of inter-band continuum lags in three AGN (NGC 5548, NGC 2617, and MCG+08-11-011), which provide new constraints on the temperature profiles and absolute sizes of the accretion disks. We find lags larger than would be predicted for standard geometrically thin, optically thick accretion disks by factors of 2.3–3.3. For NGC 5548, the data span UV through optical/near-IR wavelengths, and we are able to discern a steeper temperature profile than the T ~ R−3/4 expected for a standard thin disk. Using a physical model, we are also able to estimate the inclinations of the disks for two objects. These results are similar to those found from gravitational microlensing of strongly lensed quasars, and provide a complementary approach for investigating the accretion disk structure in local, low luminosity AGN.


Original languageEnglish
Article number55
Number of pages6
JournalFrontiers in Astronomy and Space Sciences
StatePublished - 5 Dec 2017

    Research areas

  • AGN continuum, Galaxies: active, Individual: NGC5548, NGC2617, MCG+08-11-011

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