Bright PanSTARRS Nuclear Transients - what are they?

A. Lawrence, S. Gezari, M. Elvis, M. Ward, S. Smartt, K. Smith, D. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present an initial analysis of 49 bright transients occurring in the nuclei of galaxies with no previous known Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN). They have been discovered as part of the PanSTARRs 3π survey, and followed up with the Liverpool Telescope. Based on colours, light curve shape, and a small number with optical spectra, these transients seem to fall into three groups. Red/fast transients are nuclear supernovae of various types. Some bright nuclear transients are blue and decay on a timescale of a few months; these may be candidates for tidal disruption events. However most of the events we have found are blue and are either still rising or decaying slowly, on a timescale of years; the few spectra we have show AGN at z ˜ 1. We argue that these transients are background AGN microlensed by stars in foreground galaxies by a factor 10-100. Monitoring such events gives us very promising prospects for measuring the structure of AGN and so testing current theories.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3002
JournalTidal Disruption Events and AGN Outbursts, Madrid, Spain, Edited by R. Saxton; S. Komossa; EPJ Web of Conferences, Volume 39, id.03002
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2012


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