Journal Article

A microlensing study of the accretion disc in the quasar MG 0414+0534*

N. F. Bate, D. J. E. Floyd, R. L. Webster and J. S. B. Wyithe

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 391, issue 4, pages 1955-1960
Published in print December 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online December 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.14020.x
A microlensing study of the accretion disc in the quasar MG 0414+0534*

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Observations of gravitational microlensing in multiply imaged quasars currently provide the only direct probe of quasar emission region structure on submicroarcsecond scales. The analyses of microlensing variability are observationally expensive, requiring long-term monitoring of lensed systems. Here, we demonstrate a technique for constraining the size of the quasar continuum emission region as a function of wavelength using single-epoch multiband imaging. We have obtained images of the lensed quasar MG 0414+0534 in five wavelength bands using the Magellan 6.5-m Baade telescope at Las Campanas Observatory, Chile. These data, in combination with two existing epochs of Hubble Space Telescope data, are used to model the size of the continuum emission region σ as a power law in wavelength, σ∝λν. We place an upper limit on the Gaussian width of the r′-band emission region of 1.80 × 1016h−1/270 (〈M〉/M)1/2cm, and constrain the power-law index to 0.77 ≤ν≤ 2.67 (95 per cent confidence range). These results can be used to constrain models of quasar accretion discs. As an example, we find that the accretion disc in MG 0414+0534 is statistically consistent with a Shakura–Sunyaev thin-disc model.

Keywords: accretion, accretion discs; gravitational lensing; quasars: individual: MG 0414+0534

Journal Article.  3516 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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