A Search For Binary Active Galactic Nuclei: Double-Peaked OIII AGNs In The Sloan Digital Sky Survey
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We present active galactic nuclei (AGNs) from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) having double-peaked profiles of [OIII]lambda lambda 5007, 4959 and other narrow emission lines, motivated by the prospect of finding candidate binary AGNs. These objects were identified by means of a visual examination of 21,592 quasars at z < 0.7 in SDSS Data Release 7 (DR7). Of the spectra with adequate signal-to-noise, 148 spectra exhibit a double-peaked [OIII] profile. Of these, 86 are Type 1 AGNs and 62 are Type 2 AGNs. Only two give the appearance of possibly being optically resolved double AGNs in the SDSS images, but many show close companions or signs of recent interaction. Radio-detected quasars are three times more likely to exhibit a double-peaked [OIII] profile than quasars with no detected radio flux, suggesting a role for jet interactions in producing the double-peaked profiles. Of the 66 broad-line (Type 1) AGNs that are undetected in the FIRST survey, 0.9% show double-peaked [OIII] profiles. We discuss statistical tests of the nature of the double-peaked objects. Further study is needed to determine which of them are binary AGNs rather than disturbed narrow line regions, and how many additional binaries may remain undetected because of insufficient line-of-sight velocity splitting. Previous studies indicate that 0.1% of SDSS quasars are spatially resolved binaries, with typical spacings of similar to 10-100 kpc. If a substantial fraction of the double-peaked objects are indeed binaries, then our results imply that binaries occur more frequently at smaller separations (< 10 kpc). This suggests that simultaneous fueling of both black holes is more common as the binary orbit decays through these spacings.