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Weighing Super-Massive Black Holes with Narrow Fe K$\alpha$ Line

By Peng Jiang, Junxian Wang and Xinwen Shu


It has been suggested that the narrow cores of the Fe K$\alpha$ emission lines in Active Galactic Nuclei (AGNs) are likely produced in the torus, the inner radius of which can be measured by observing the lag time between the $V$ and $K$ band flux variations. In this paper we compare the virial products of the infrared time lags and the narrow Fe K$\alpha$ widths for 10 type 1 AGNs with the black hole masses from other techniques. We find the narrow Fe K$\alpha$ line width is in average 2.6$^{+0.9}_{-0.4}$ times broader than expected assuming an isotropic velocity distribution of the torus at the distance measured by the infrared lags. We propose the thick disk model of the torus could explain the observed larger line width. Another possibility is the contamination by emission from the broad line region or the outer accretion disk. Alternatively, the narrow iron line might originate from the inner most part of the obscuring torus within the sublimation radius, while the infrared emission from outer cooler part. We note the correlation between the black hole masses based on this new technique and those based on other known techniques is statistically insignificant. We argue that this could be attributed to the small sample size and the very large uncertainties in the measurements of iron K line widths. The next generation of X-ray observatories could help verify the origin of the narrow iron K$\alpha$ line and the reliability of this new technique.Comment: 12 pages, 2 figures, 2 tables, Science China G, in pres

Topics: Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1007/s11433-011-4350-9
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