Duke Physics Colloquium: Quasar Variability in the LSST Era

Monday, February 26, 2018 - 4:30pm

Chelsea MacLeod (Harvard)

"Quasar Variability in the LSST Era" - In the era of time domain astronomy, repeat photometric andspectroscopic observations spanning over a decade are revealing intriguing variability in quasars, or active galactic nuclei (AGN). This time dependence presents a challenge for our physical and mathematical models of quasar light curves. Besides revolutionizing the field of quasar variability with its great cadence for millions of AGN, LSST will also uncover thousands of new lensed quasars whose time dependence can be used as a competitive cosmological probe. In this talk, I summarize our progress over the past decade in characterizing quasar light curves using optical survey data such as SDSS Stripe 82, and I highlight my recent results from a spectroscopic follow-up survey of extreme variables in SDSS and Pan-STARRS. I conclude by discussing the prospects of using quasar variability as a tool in cosmology experiments in the LSST era. Faculty Host: Chris Walter.

Physics 128

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