Space Telescope and Optical Reverberation Mapping Project VI: reverberating Disk Models for NGC 5548

We conduct a multiwavelength continuum variability study of the Seyfert 1 galaxy NGC 5548 to investigate the temperature structure of its accretion disk. The 19 overlapping continuum light curves (1158 ˚A to 9157 ˚A) combine simultaneous HST , Swift , and ground-based observations over a 180 day period from 2014 January to July. Light-curve variability is interpreted as the reverberation response of the accretion disk to irradiation by a central time-varying point source. Our model yields the disk inclination i = 36◦ ± 10◦ , temperature T1 = (44 ± 6) × 103 K at 1 light day from the black hole, and a temperature-radius slope (T ∝ r −α) of α = 0.99±0.03. We also infer the driving light curve and find that it correlates poorly with both the hard and soft X-ray light curves, suggesting that the X-rays alone may not drive the ultraviolet and optical variability over the observing period. We also decompose the light curves into bright, faint, and mean accretion-disk spectra. These spectra lie below that expected for a standard blackbody accretion disk accreting at L/LEdd = 0.1.

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