On the performance of quasar reverberation mapping in the era of time-domain photometric surveys

Doron Chelouche, Ohad Shemmer, Gabriel I. Cotlier, Aaron J. Barth, Stephen E. Rafter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We quantitatively assess, by means of comprehensive numerical simulations, the ability of broadband photometric surveys to recover the broad emission line region (BLR) size in quasars under various observing conditions and for a wide range of object properties. Focusing on the general characteristics of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), we find that the slope of the size-luminosity relation for the BLR in quasars can be determined with unprecedented accuracy, on the order of a few percent, over a broad luminosity range and out to z ∼ 3. In particular, major emission lines for which the BLR size can be reliably measured with LSST include Hα, Mg II λ2799, C III] λ1909, C IV λ1549, and Lyα, amounting to a total of ≳ 105 time-delay measurements for all transitions. Combined with an estimate for the emission line velocity dispersion, upcoming photometric surveys will facilitate the estimation of black hole masses in active galactic nuclei over a broad range of luminosities and redshifts, allow for refined calibrations of BLR size-luminosity-redshift relations in different transitions, as well as lead to more reliable cross-calibration with other black hole mass estimation techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Article number140
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 20 Apr 2014


  • galaxies: active
  • methods: data analysis
  • quasars: emission lines
  • quasars: supermassive black holes
  • techniques: photometric

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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