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  The BAT AGN Spectroscopic Survey. XVIII. Searching for supermassive black hole binaries in X-rays

Liu, T., Koss, M., Blecha, L., Ricci, C., Trakhtenbrot, B., Mushotzky, R., et al. (2020). The BAT AGN Spectroscopic Survey. XVIII. Searching for supermassive black hole binaries in X-rays. The Astrophysical Journal, 896(2): 122. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ab952d.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-F943-6 Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-F944-5
Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
Liu, Tingting, Author
Koss, Michael, Author
Blecha, Laura, Author
Ricci, Claudio, Author
Trakhtenbrot, Benny, Author
Mushotzky, Richard, Author
Harrison, Fiona, Author
Ichikawa, Kohei, Author
Kakkad, Darshan, Author
Oh, Kyuseok, Author
Powell, Meredith, Author
Privon, George C., Author
Schawinski, Kevin, Author
Shimizu, T. Taro1, Author              
Smith, Krista Lynne, Author
Stern, Daniel, Author
Treister, Ezequiel, Author
Urry, C. Megan, Author
Affiliations:
1Infrared and Submillimeter Astronomy, MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics, Max Planck Society, ou_159889              

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 Abstract: Theory predicts that a supermassive black hole binary (SMBHB) could be observed as a luminous active galactic nucleus (AGN) that periodically varies on the order of its orbital timescale. In X-rays, periodic variations could be caused by mechanisms including relativistic Doppler boosting and shocks. Here we present the first systematic search for periodic AGNs using 941 hard X-ray light curves (14–195 keV) from the first 105 months of the Swift Burst Alert Telescope (BAT) survey (2004–2013). We do not find evidence for periodic AGNs in Swift-BAT, including the previously reported SMBHB candidate MCG+11−11−032. We find that the null detection is consistent with the combination of the upper-limit binary population in AGNs in our adopted model, their expected periodic variability amplitudes, and the BAT survey characteristics. We have also investigated the detectability of SMBHBs against normal AGN X-ray variability in the context of the extended ROentgen Survey with an Imaging Telescope Array (eROSITA) survey. Under our assumptions of a binary population and the periodic signals they produce, which have long periods of hundreds of days, up to 13% true periodic binaries can be robustly distinguished from normal variable AGNs with the ideal uniform sampling. However, we demonstrate that realistic eROSITA sampling is likely to be insensitive to long-period binaries because longer observing gaps reduce their detectability. In contrast, large observing gaps do not diminish the prospect of detecting binaries of short, few-day periods, as 19% can be successfully recovered, the vast majority of which can be identified by the first half of the survey.

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 Dates: 2020-06-19
 Publication Status: Published online
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 Identifiers: DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ab952d
Other: LOCALID: 3251714
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Title: The Astrophysical Journal
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Bristol; Vienna : IOP Publishing; IAEA
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 896 (2) Sequence Number: 122 Start / End Page: - Identifier: ISSN: 0004-637X
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954922828215_3