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Guo, Hengxiao; Burke, Colin J.; Liu, Xin; Phadke, Kedar A.; Zhang, Kaiwen; Chen, Yu-Ching; Gruendl, Robert A.; Lidman, Christopher; Shen, Yue; Morganson, Eric; Aguena, Michel; Allam, Sahar; Avila, Santiago; Bertin, Emmanuel; Brooks, David; Carnero Rosell, Aurelio; Carollo, Daniela; Kind, Matias Carrasco; Costanzi, Matteo; da Costa, Luiz N.; De Vicente, Juan; Desai, Shantanu; Doel, Peter; Eifler, Tim F.; Everett, Spencer; Garcia-Bellido, Juan; Gaztanaga, Enrique; Gerdes, David W.; Gruen, Daniel; Gschwend, Julia; Gutierrez, Gaston; Hinton, Samuel R.; Hollowood, Devon L.; Honscheid, Klaus; James, David J.; Kuehn, Kyler; Lima, Marcos; Maia, Marcio A. G.; Menanteau, Felipe; Miquel, Ramon; Moller, Anais; Ogando, Ricardo L. C.; Palmese, Antonella; Paz-Chinchon, Francisco; Plazas, Andres A.; Romer, Anita K.; Roodman, Aaron; Sanchez, Eusebio; Scarpine, V.ic; Schubnell, Michael; Serrano, Santiago; Smith, Mathew; Soares-Santos, Marcelle; Sommer, Natalia E.; Suchyta, Eric; Swanson, Molly E. C.; Tarle, Gregory; Tucker, Brad E. and Varga, Tamas N. (2020): Dark Energy Survey identification of a low-mass active galactic nucleus at redshift 0.823 from optical variability. In: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 496, No. 3: pp. 3636-3647

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We report the identification of a low-mass active galactic nucleus (AGN), DES J0218-0430, in a redshift z = 0.823 galaxy in the Dark Energy Survey (DES) Supernova field. We select DES J0218-0430 as an AGN candidate by characterizing its long-term optical variability alone based on DES optical broad-band light curves spanning over 6 yr. An archival optical spectrum from the fourth phase of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey shows both broad MgII and broad H beta lines, confirming its nature as a broad-line AGN. Archival XMM-Newton X-ray observations suggest an intrinsic hard X-ray luminosity of L2-12 keV approximate to 7.6 +/- 0.4 x 10(43) erg s(-1), which exceeds those of the most X-ray luminous starburst galaxies, in support of an AGN driving the optical variability. Based on the broad H beta from SDSS spectrum, we estimate a virial black hole (BH) mass of M-circle approximate to 10(6.43) - 10(6.72) M-circle dot (with the error denoting the systematic uncertainty from different calibrations), consistent with the estimation from OzDES, making it the lowest mass AGN with redshift > 0.4 detected in optical. We estimate the host galaxy stellar mass to be M-* approximate to 10(10.5 +/- 0.3) M-circle dot based on modelling the multiwavelength spectral energy distribution. DES J0218-0430 extends the M-circle-M-* relation observed in luminous AGNs at z similar to 1 to masses lower than being probed by previous work. Our work demonstrates the feasibility of using optical variability to identify low-mass AGNs at higher redshift in deeper synoptic surveys with direct implications for the upcoming Legacy Survey of Space and Time at Vera C. Rubin Observatory.

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