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The Astrophysical Journal


Department of Physics and Astronomy


We use time-domain optical spectroscopy to distinguish between broad emission lines powered by accreting black holes (BHs) or stellar processes (i.e., supernovae) for 16 galaxies identified as AGN candidates by Reines \etal (2013). Our study is primarily focused on those objects with narrow emission-line ratios dominated by star formation. Based on follow-up spectra taken with the Magellan Echellette Spectrograph (MagE), the Dual Imaging Spectrograph, and the Ohio State Multi-Object Spectrograph, we find that the broad Hα emission has faded or was ambiguous for all of the star-forming objects (14/16) over baselines ranging from 5 to 14 years. For the two objects in our follow-up sample with narrow-line AGN signatures (RGG 9 and RGG 119), we find persistent broad Hα emission consistent with an AGN origin. Additionally, we use our MagE observations to measure stellar velocity dispersions for 15 objects in the Reines et al. (2013) sample, all with narrow-line ratios indicating the presence of an AGN. Stellar masses range from ∼5×108 to 3×109~\msun, and we measure σ∗ ranging from 28−71 km s−1. These σ∗ correspond to some of the lowest-mass galaxies with optical signatures of AGN activity. We show that RGG 119, the one object which has both a measured σ∗ and persistent broad Hα emission, falls near the extrapolation of the MBH−σ⋆ relation to the low-mass end.