Wednesday, November 8, 2017
4:00 pm
Cahill, Hameetman Auditorium – Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics

Astronomy Colloquium

A New Regime of Optical Variability in AGN: the Kepler Light Curves
Krista Lynne Smith, KIPAC, Stanford

The optical light curves of AGN provide a unique window into the conditions and behavior within the accretion disk. The development of a specialized pipeline for AGN science with the unparalleled photometry of exoplanet-hunting satellites allows us to explore new optical variability phenomena. Among the insights from these new light curves are bimodal flux distributions, power spectral slopes that depend on luminosity, characteristic variability timescales, and more. Such data provide an opportunity for direct comparison with X-ray light curves, and promise to inform models of both accretion physics and the relationship between X-ray and optical emitting regions in the central engine. These data will be critical in learning how to interpret AGN light curves from upcoming large variability surveys like LSST. Finally, exoplanet mission data have enormous future promise for a multifaceted understanding of accretion processes, including blazar jets and quasi-periodic oscillations.

Contact Althea E. Keith aek@astro.caltech.edu at 626-395-4973
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