Date

6-2012

Degree Name

BS in Physics

Department

Physics Department

Advisor(s)

Vardha Nicola Bennert

Abstract

Active galactic nuclei (AGNs) are among the most energetic objects in the Universe and are believed to be powered by supermassive black holes. By studying optical spectra of these AGNs, information can be acquired about the central black hole and its surroundings. Specifically the broad component of the Hβ emission line can be used to find the velocity of gas in the broad line region, a necessary step in determining the mass of the central black hole. In this thesis, I present the results of using a python code to measure the broad component of Hβ in the spectra of 78 AGNs. This broad component was found to occur in a wide range of widths and shapes, and to apparently disappear in four objects that previously had shown a broad component.

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