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Supermassive Black Hole Studies with the LSST

by Carolyn Hunsinger last modified Apr 25, 2013

Niel Brandt (Penn State University)

 LSST AGN Science Collaboration

 Supermassive Black Hole Studies with the LSST

Data from the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will enable multiple breakthrough
investigations of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) as well as typically dormant supermassive black holes (SMBHs). The decade-long LSST main survey will discover at least 10 million AGNs across 18,000 deg2, obtaining 50-200 visits per source for each of the ugrizy filters. About 10-20 extragalactic LSST Deep-Drilling Fields will provide even deeper coverage and denser temporal sampling for a few hundred thousand AGNs. Efficient AGN identification from z = 0-7.5 will be possible via a combination of techniques: color selection, variability selection, lack of proper motion, differential chromatic refraction patterns, and multiwavelength matching. I will describe a few of the prime SMBH science investigations that LSST will enable including (1) massive investigations of the dependence of AGN variability upon system physical properties; (2) the discovery and near realtime follow up of large samples of stellar tidal disruptions and other transient  ueling/obscuration events; (3) the identification of large AGN samples at high redshifts; e.g., more than 1000 AGNs at z > 6.5; (4) the discovery of significant samples of microlensing events that will be exploited to probe AGN emission regions; and (5) large-scale searches for accreting binary SMBHs with centiparsec separations.