The publication of the first two CARS papers in A&A about the discovery and nature of the "changing-look" AGN Mrk 1018 are accompanied by several press releases today by ESO, CAASTRO, AIP, and others. The mystery of the rare change in the behaviour of the supermassive black hole at the centre of this distant galaxy has been discovered and solved by the CARS team using ESO’s Very Large Telescope along with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope and NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. It seems that the black hole has fallen on hard times and is no longer being fed enough fuel to make its surroundings shine.
The two papers describing the discovery and first detailed investigation of the cause for the dramatic dimming can be found here:
1) The Close AGN Reference Survey (CARS) - Mrk 1018 returns to the shadows after 30 years as a Seyfert 1, McElroy et al. 2016, A&A, 593, L8
2) The Close AGN Reference Survey (CARS) - What is causing Mrk 1018’s return to the shadows after 30 years?, Husemann et al. 2016, A&A, 593, L9
For further question please contact either
Bernd Husemann, European Southern Observatory, bhuseman (AT) eso.org, 0049 89 3200 6750
Rebecca McElroy, University of Sydney, rmcelroy (AT) physics.usyd.edu.au, 0061 421 882 513
This image from the SDSS Stripe 82 survey shows the active galaxy Markarian 1018, which has a supermassive black hole at its core. The faint loops of light around the galaxy are a result of its interaction and merger with another galaxy in the recent past. Credit: ESO/CARS survey