Black hole virial masses from single-epoch photometry. The miniJPAS test case

Chaves-Montero, J.; Bonoli, S.; Trakhtenbrot, B.; Fernández-Centeno, A.; Queiroz, C.; Díaz-García, L. A.; González Delgado, R. M.; Hernán-Caballero, A.; Hernández-Monteagudo, C.; Lópen-Sanjuan, C.; Overzier, R.; Sobral, D.; Abramo, L. R.; Alcaniz, J.; Benitez, N.; Carneiro, S.; Cenarro, A. J.; Cristóbal-Hornillos, D.; Dupke, R. A.; Ederoclite, A.; Marín-Franch, A.; Mendes de Oliveira, C.; Moles, M.; Sodré, L.; Taylor, K.; Varela, J.; Vázquez Ramió, H.; Civera, T.
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Astronomy and Astrophysics

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Context. Precise measurements of black hole masses are essential to understanding the coevolution of these sources and their host galaxies.
Aims: We develop a novel approach for computing black hole virial masses using measurements of continuum luminosities and emission line widths from partially overlapping, narrow-band observations of quasars; we refer to this technique as single-epoch photometry.
Methods: This novel method relies on forward-modelling quasar observations for estimating emission line widths, which enables unbiased measurements even for lines coarsely resolved by narrow-band data. We assess the performance of this technique using quasars from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) observed by the miniJPAS survey, a proof-of-concept project of the Javalambre Physics of the Accelerating Universe Astrophysical Survey (J-PAS) collaboration covering ≃1 deg2 of the northern sky using the 56 J-PAS narrow-band filters.
Results: We find remarkable agreement between black hole masses from single-epoch SDSS spectra and single-epoch miniJPAS photometry, with no systematic difference between these and a scatter ranging from 0.4 to 0.07 dex for masses from log(MBH)≃8 to 9.75, respectively. Reverberation mapping studies show that single-epoch masses present approximately 0.4 dex precision, letting us conclude that our novel technique delivers black hole masses with only mildly lower precision than single-epoch spectroscopy.
Conclusions: The J-PAS survey will soon start observing thousands of square degrees without any source preselection other than the photometric depth in the detection band, and thus single-epoch photometry has the potential to provide details on the physical properties of quasar populations that do not satisfy the preselection criteria of previous spectroscopic surveys.
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