Enhancing the H2O Megamaser Detection Rate Using Optical and Mid-infrared Photometry

C. Y. Kuo, A. Constantin, J. A. Braatz, H. H. Chung, C. A. Witherspoon, D. Pesce, C. M.V. Impellizzeri, F. Gao, Lei Hao, J. H. Woo, Ingyin Zaw

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    Water megamasers from circumnuclear disks in galaxy centers provide the most accurate measurements of supermassive black hole masses and uniquely probe the subparsec accretion processes. At the same time, these systems offer independent crucial constraints of the Hubble constant in the nearby universe, and thus, the arguably best single constraint on the nature of dark energy. The chances of finding these golden standards are, however, abysmally low, at ≲3% overall for any level of water maser emission detected at 22 GHz and ≲1% for those exhibiting disk-like configuration. We provide here a thorough summary of the current state of detection of water megamaser disks along with a novel investigation of the likelihood of increasing their detection rates based on a multivariate parameter analysis of the optical and mid-infrared (mid-IR) photometric properties of the largest database of galaxies surveyed for 22 GHz emission. We find that galaxies with water megamaser emission tend to be associated with strong emission in all Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer mid-IR wavelengths, with the strongest enhancement in the W4 band, at 22 μm, as well as with previously proposed and newly found indicators of active galactic nucleus strength in the mid-IR, such as red W1 -W2 and W1 -W4 colors, and the integrated mid-IR luminosity of the host galaxy. These trends offer a potential boost of the megamaser detection rates to 6%-15%, or a factor of 2-8 relative to the current rates, depending on the chosen sample selection criteria, while fostering real chances for discovering 20 new megamaser disks.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Article number169
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Volume860
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jun 20 2018

    Fingerprint

    infrared photometry
    galaxies
    water
    Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer
    water masers
    Hubble constant
    acceleration (physics)
    dark energy
    active galactic nuclei
    universe
    accretion
    luminosity
    probe
    wavelength
    trends
    color
    rate
    detection
    augmentation
    probes

    Keywords

    • galaxies: active
    • galaxies: nuclei
    • infrared: galaxies
    • masers
    • surveys

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Astronomy and Astrophysics
    • Space and Planetary Science

    Cite this

    Kuo, C. Y., Constantin, A., Braatz, J. A., Chung, H. H., Witherspoon, C. A., Pesce, D., ... Zaw, I. (2018). Enhancing the H2O Megamaser Detection Rate Using Optical and Mid-infrared Photometry. Astrophysical Journal, 860(2), [169]. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/aac498

    Enhancing the H2O Megamaser Detection Rate Using Optical and Mid-infrared Photometry. / Kuo, C. Y.; Constantin, A.; Braatz, J. A.; Chung, H. H.; Witherspoon, C. A.; Pesce, D.; Impellizzeri, C. M.V.; Gao, F.; Hao, Lei; Woo, J. H.; Zaw, Ingyin.

    In: Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 860, No. 2, 169, 20.06.2018.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Kuo, CY, Constantin, A, Braatz, JA, Chung, HH, Witherspoon, CA, Pesce, D, Impellizzeri, CMV, Gao, F, Hao, L, Woo, JH & Zaw, I 2018, 'Enhancing the H2O Megamaser Detection Rate Using Optical and Mid-infrared Photometry', Astrophysical Journal, vol. 860, no. 2, 169. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/aac498
    Kuo CY, Constantin A, Braatz JA, Chung HH, Witherspoon CA, Pesce D et al. Enhancing the H2O Megamaser Detection Rate Using Optical and Mid-infrared Photometry. Astrophysical Journal. 2018 Jun 20;860(2). 169. https://doi.org/10.3847/1538-4357/aac498
    Kuo, C. Y. ; Constantin, A. ; Braatz, J. A. ; Chung, H. H. ; Witherspoon, C. A. ; Pesce, D. ; Impellizzeri, C. M.V. ; Gao, F. ; Hao, Lei ; Woo, J. H. ; Zaw, Ingyin. / Enhancing the H2O Megamaser Detection Rate Using Optical and Mid-infrared Photometry. In: Astrophysical Journal. 2018 ; Vol. 860, No. 2.
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    abstract = "Water megamasers from circumnuclear disks in galaxy centers provide the most accurate measurements of supermassive black hole masses and uniquely probe the subparsec accretion processes. At the same time, these systems offer independent crucial constraints of the Hubble constant in the nearby universe, and thus, the arguably best single constraint on the nature of dark energy. The chances of finding these golden standards are, however, abysmally low, at ≲3{\%} overall for any level of water maser emission detected at 22 GHz and ≲1{\%} for those exhibiting disk-like configuration. We provide here a thorough summary of the current state of detection of water megamaser disks along with a novel investigation of the likelihood of increasing their detection rates based on a multivariate parameter analysis of the optical and mid-infrared (mid-IR) photometric properties of the largest database of galaxies surveyed for 22 GHz emission. We find that galaxies with water megamaser emission tend to be associated with strong emission in all Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer mid-IR wavelengths, with the strongest enhancement in the W4 band, at 22 μm, as well as with previously proposed and newly found indicators of active galactic nucleus strength in the mid-IR, such as red W1 -W2 and W1 -W4 colors, and the integrated mid-IR luminosity of the host galaxy. These trends offer a potential boost of the megamaser detection rates to 6{\%}-15{\%}, or a factor of 2-8 relative to the current rates, depending on the chosen sample selection criteria, while fostering real chances for discovering 20 new megamaser disks.",
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    AU - Braatz, J. A.

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    AU - Witherspoon, C. A.

    AU - Pesce, D.

    AU - Impellizzeri, C. M.V.

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    AU - Woo, J. H.

    AU - Zaw, Ingyin

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    N2 - Water megamasers from circumnuclear disks in galaxy centers provide the most accurate measurements of supermassive black hole masses and uniquely probe the subparsec accretion processes. At the same time, these systems offer independent crucial constraints of the Hubble constant in the nearby universe, and thus, the arguably best single constraint on the nature of dark energy. The chances of finding these golden standards are, however, abysmally low, at ≲3% overall for any level of water maser emission detected at 22 GHz and ≲1% for those exhibiting disk-like configuration. We provide here a thorough summary of the current state of detection of water megamaser disks along with a novel investigation of the likelihood of increasing their detection rates based on a multivariate parameter analysis of the optical and mid-infrared (mid-IR) photometric properties of the largest database of galaxies surveyed for 22 GHz emission. We find that galaxies with water megamaser emission tend to be associated with strong emission in all Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer mid-IR wavelengths, with the strongest enhancement in the W4 band, at 22 μm, as well as with previously proposed and newly found indicators of active galactic nucleus strength in the mid-IR, such as red W1 -W2 and W1 -W4 colors, and the integrated mid-IR luminosity of the host galaxy. These trends offer a potential boost of the megamaser detection rates to 6%-15%, or a factor of 2-8 relative to the current rates, depending on the chosen sample selection criteria, while fostering real chances for discovering 20 new megamaser disks.

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