Graham et al. reported a periodically varying quasar and supermassive black hole binary candidate, PG1302-102 (hereafter PG1302), which was discovered in the Catalina Real-time Transient Survey (CRTS). Its combined Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR) and CRTS optical light curve is well fitted to a sinusoid of an observed period of ≈1884 days and well modeled by the relativistic Doppler boosting of the secondary mini-disk. However, the LINEAR+CRTS light curve from MJD ≈52,700 to MJD ≈56,400 covers only ∼2 cycles of periodic variation, which is a short baseline that can be highly susceptible to normal, stochastic quasar variability. In this Letter, we present a reanalysis of PG1302 using the latest light curve from the All-sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN), which extends the observational baseline to the present day (MJD ≈58,200), and adopting a maximum likelihood method that searches for a periodic component in addition to stochastic quasar variability. When the ASAS-SN data are combined with the previous LINEAR+CRTS data, the evidence for periodicity decreases. For genuine periodicity one would expect that additional data would strengthen the evidence, so the decrease in significance may be an indication that the binary model is disfavored.
The Astrophysical Journal
- Pub Date:
- May 2018
- quasars: individual: PG1302-102;
- quasars: supermassive black holes;
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
- Accepted to ApJ Letters