The ultraviolet properties of the narrow-line quasar I Zw 1

Ari Laor, Buell T. Jannuzi, Richard F. Green, Todd A. Boroson

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129 Scopus citations


I Zwicky 1 (I Zw 1) is the prototype narrow-line quasar. Its narrow-line profiles minimize blending effects and thus allow a significantly more accurate study of individual quasar emission lines. We report here the results of our study of the 1150-3250 Å emission of I Zw 1 using a high signal-to-noise (50-120) spectrum obtained with the Faint Object Spectrograph of the Bubble Space Telescope. The UV spectrum of I Zw 1 is very rich in emission lines, with essentially no wavelength range free of emission-line features. The following main new results are obtained: 1. The Mg II λ2798 doublet is partially resolved, and the measured doublet ratio is 1.2/1. This ratio verifies theoretical predictions that the Mg II λ2798 line is thermalized in the broad-line region (BLR). 2. The AI HI λ1857 doublet is clearly resolved, with a thermalized doublet ratio of 1.25/1. The line optical depth provides an upper limit to the clouds' distance from the ionizing source that is consistent with the "standard" BLR radius. 3. A weak associated UV absorption system is detected in N v (possibly also in C IV and Lyα as well), suggesting an outflow with a velocity of ∼1870 km s-1 and velocity dispersion of ≲300 km s-1. 4. Lines from ions of increasing ionization level show increasing excess blue-wing flux and an increasing line peak velocity shift, reaching a maximum blueshift of ∼2000 km s-1 for He II λ1640. This may indicate an outflowing component in the BLR, where the ionization level increases with velocity and which is visible only in the approaching direction. The highest velocity part of this outflow may produce the associated UV absorption system. 5. The small C III] λ1909 equivalent width and the small C III] λ1909/Lyα and C III] λ1909/Si III] λ1892 flux ratios indicate a typical BLR density of ne ∼ 1011 cm-3, i.e., about an order of magnitude larger than that implied by C III] λ1909 in most quasars. A BLR component with a density ne ≳ 1011 cm-3 is implied by the EW and doublet ratio of the Al III λ1857 doublet. 6. Prominent Fe II UV 191 emission is seen, together with weaker line emission at 1294 Å and 1871 Å. These three features have been proposed by Johansson & Jordan as evidence for significant Lyα pumping of the 8-10 eV levels of Fe II. 7. Significant Fe III emission is present. The Fe III UV 34 and UV 48 multiplets are clearly resolved, and Fe in UV 1, UV 47, UV 50, and UV 68 may also be present. The implications of significant Fe III emission for the conditions in the BLR need to be explored. 8. Very weak [C III] λ1907 and [Si III] λ1883 emission may be present, suggesting a narrow-lineregion component with ne ∼ 5 × 105 cm-3. The rich UV emission spectrum of I Zw 1 should serve as a useful "template" for the identification of weak features in other active galactic nuclei and as a useful benchmark for photoionization models, in particular, for models of the complex Fe II emission spectrum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)656-671
Number of pages16
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 PART I
StatePublished - 1997


  • Quasars: absorption lines
  • Quasars: emission lines
  • Quasars: individual (I zwicky 1)
  • Ultraviolet: galaxies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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