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 Quasars with Anomalous Hβ Profiles I: Demographics

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The H\beta\ emission line in a typical Type I quasar is composed of a broad base and a narrow core, with the core velocity typical of narrow-line region emission, and line-fitting routines typically assume this picture. We test the effects of removing this constraint, and find a substantial group of Type I quasars in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey catalog with H\beta\ emission line cores broader than 1200 km-s, above the velocity believed possible for gas in the quasar narrow-line region. We identify this group of -anomalous H\beta\ quasars- AHQs as a distinct population because of a variety of spectral and photometric signatures common to these AHQs but atypical of other quasars. These features are similar to some aspects of narrow-line Seyfert 1s and correlations identified by Eigenvector 1, but also contain distinct features that make AHQs difficult to classify. We demonstrate that AHQs comprise at least 11% and most likely approximately one quarter of the SDSS Type I quasar population at 0.2 z 0.8. For AHQs, the O III\lambda 4959,5007 profile is often better fit by de-linking it from the H\beta\ core, while a more standard linked fit produces a tight correlation between narrow- and broad-line velocities. We find that O III in AHQs sometimes has a standard narrow-line profile and other times matches the H\beta core, but is rarely in between the two, implying that the broadened core emission arises from a distinct physical region. Another feature of AHQs is a diminished O II line, which might indicate a connection between AHQs and the interstellar mediums of their host galaxies, through reduced photoionization or star formation. We find that it is difficult to produce AHQs using the current quasar standard model.

Author: Charles L. Steinhardt; John D. Silverman

Source: https://archive.org/

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