Analyses of the variability asymmetry of Kepler AGNs.
CHEN X.-Y. and WANG J.-X.
Abstract (from CDS):
The high-quality light curves from the Kepler space telescope make it possible to analyze the optical variability of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) with unprecedented time resolution. Studying the asymmetry in variations could provide independent constraints on physical models for AGN variability. In this paper, we use Kepler observations of 19 sources to perform analyses of the variability asymmetry of AGNs. We apply smoothing correction to light curves to deduct their bias toward high-frequency variability asymmetry caused by long-term variations that have been poorly sampled due to the limited length of light curves. A parameter β based on structure functions is introduced to quantitively describe the asymmetry and its uncertainty is measured using extensive Monte Carlo simulations. Individual sources show no evidence of asymmetry at timescales of days and there is no general trend toward positive or negative asymmetry over the whole sample. Stacking the data from all 19 AGNs, we derive an averaged of 0.00±0.03 and -0.02±0.04 over timescales of 1 ∼ 5 days and 5 ∼ 20 days, respectively, which are statistically consistent with zero. Quasars and Seyfert galaxies show similar asymmetry parameters. Our results indicate that short-term optical variations in AGNs are highly symmetric.
accretion, accretion disks - galaxies: active - galaxies: Seyfert - quasars: general