Polarimetry of the potential binary supermassive black hole system in J1430+2303 - INSU - Institut national des sciences de l'Univers Access content directly
Journal Articles Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A Year : 2023

Polarimetry of the potential binary supermassive black hole system in J1430+2303

D. Hutsemékers
  • Function : Author
I. Liodakis
  • Function : Author
R. Antonucci
  • Function : Author
N. Mandarakas
  • Function : Author
E. Lindfors
  • Function : Author
D. Blinov
  • Function : Author
D. Savić
  • Function : Author


Context. The growth of supermassive black holes (SMBHs) through merging has long been predicted but its detection remains elusive. However, a promising target has been discovered in the Seyfert-1 galaxy J1430+2303, where two SMBHs may be about to merge.
Aims: If a binary system truly lies at the center of J1430+2303, the usual symmetry expected from pole-on views in active galactic nuclei (AGNs) responsible for the observed low (≤1%) optical linear polarization in the continuum of these objects is expected to be broken. This should lead to higher-than-usual polarization degrees, together with time-dependent variations of the polarization signal.
Methods: We used the specialized photopolarimeters RoboPol mounted on the 1.3 m telescope at the Skinakas Observatory and the Alhambra Faint Object Spectrograph and Camera (ALFOSC) mounted on the 2.56 m Nordic Optical Telescope (NOT) at the "Roque de los Muchachos" Observatory to measure the B-, V-, R-, and I-band polarization of J1430+2303. Observations were complemented using the FORS2 spectropolarimeter mounted on the VLT to acquire 3500−8650 Å polarized spectra. We compared our set of observations to Monte Carlo radiative-transfer predictions to look for the presence of a SMBH binary.
Results: The observed linear continuum polarization of J1430+2303 in the V and R bands is ∼0.4% with an associated polarization angle of slightly larger than 0°. We detected no significant changes in polarization or photometry between May, June, and July of 2022. In addition, there is no significant difference between the polarization of Hα and the polarization of the continuum. A single SMBH at the center of an AGN model is able to reproduce the observed spectrum and polarization, while the binary hypothesis is rejected with a probability of ∼85%.
Conclusions: The low degree of continuum polarization, the lack of variability in photometry and polarization over three months, and the absence of Hα polarization different than that of the continuum tend to indicate that J1430+2303 is a standard Seyfert-1 AGN whose nuclear inclination is 24−31° according to our model.

Based on observations made with ESO Very Large Telescope at the Paranal Observatory under programme ID 109.24E7.001.

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Dates and versions

insu-04102326 , version 1 (22-05-2023)





F. Marin, D. Hutsemékers, I. Liodakis, R. Antonucci, N. Mandarakas, et al.. Polarimetry of the potential binary supermassive black hole system in J1430+2303. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, 2023, 673, ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/202346115⟩. ⟨insu-04102326⟩
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