The Sloan Digital Sky Survey Reverberation Mapping (SDSS-RM) project is a dedicated multi-object RM experiment that has spectroscopically monitored a sample of 849 broad-line quasars in a single 7 deg2 field with the SDSS-III Baryon Oscillation Spectroscopic Survey spectrograph. The RM quasar sample is flux-limited to i psf = 21.7 mag, and covers a redshift range of 0.1 < z < 4.5 without any other cuts on quasar properties. Optical spectroscopy was performed during 2014 January-July dark/gray time, with an average cadence of 4 days, totaling more than 30 epochs. Supporting photometric monitoring in the g and i bands was conducted at multiple facilities including the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) and the Steward Observatory Bok telescope in 2014, with a cadence of 2 days and covering all lunar phases. The RM field (R.A., decl. = 14:14:49.00, +53:05:00.0) lies within the CFHT-LS W3 field, and coincides with the Pan-STARRS 1 (PS1) Medium Deep Field MD07, with three prior years of multi-band PS1 light curves. The SDSS-RM six month baseline program aims to detect time lags between the quasar continuum and broad line region (BLR) variability on timescales of up to several months (in the observed frame) for 10% of the sample, and to anchor the time baseline for continued monitoring in the future to detect lags on longer timescales and at higher redshift. SDSS-RM is the first major program to systematically explore the potential of RM for broad-line quasars at z > 0.3, and will investigate the prospects of RM with all major broad lines covered in optical spectroscopy. SDSS-RM will provide guidance on future multi-object RM campaigns on larger scales, and is aiming to deliver more than tens of BLR lag detections for a homogeneous sample of quasars. We describe the motivation, design, and implementation of this program, and outline the science impact expected from the resulting data for RM and general quasar science.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science