October 2019 • 2019ApJ...883..154P
Abstract • We report the discovery of a mid-infrared variable AGN that is hosted by an ultraluminous infrared galaxy (ULIRG) in the Sloan Stripe 82 field. WISE J030654.88+010833.6 is a red, extended galaxy, which we estimate to be at a photometric redshift of 0.28 ≤ z ≤ 0.31, based on its optical and near-infrared spectral energy distribution (SED). The factor of two variability over 8 yr seen in the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) 3.4 and 4.6 μm wavelength channels is not clearly correlated with optical variability in archival data. Based on our estimation of the physical parameters of the host galaxy, J030654.88+010833.6 is possibly a composite AGN/starburst ULIRG in a phase where high star formation ∼70 M ⊙ yr-1 is occurring. Our estimate of the black hole mass to stellar mass ratio also appears to be consistent with that of broad line AGN in the local universe. The long-term variability of J030654.88+010833.6 as seen in the WISE W1 and W2 light curves is likely due to variations in the accretion rate, with the energy being reprocessed by dust in the vicinity of the AGN.