Understanding extreme quasar optical variability with CRTS: II. Changing-state quasars


We present the results of a systematic search for quasars in the Catalina Real-time Transient Survey exhibiting both strong photometric and spectroscopic variability over a decadal baseline. We identify 73 sources with specific patterns of optical and mid-IR photometric behavior and a defined spectroscopic change. These arcsecChanging-State arcsec quasars (CSQs) form a higher luminosity sample to complement existing sets of arcsecChanging-Look arcsec AGN and quasars in the literature. The CSQs (by selection) exhibit larger photometric variability than the CLQs. The spectroscopic variability is marginally stronger in the CSQs than CLQs as defined by the change in H$beta$/[OIII] ratio. We find 36 sources with declining H$beta$ flux, 37 sources with increasing H$beta$ flux and discover seven sources with $z > 0.8$, further extending the redshift arm. Our CSQ sample compares to the literature CLQ objects in similar distributions of H$beta$ flux ratios and differential Eddington ratios between high (bright) and low (dim) states. Taken as a whole, we find that this population of extreme varying quasars is associated with changes in the Eddington ratio and the timescales imply cooling/heating fronts propagating through the disk.