935 research outputs found

    Iron K line emission in AGN: observations

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    Iron K-alpha lines are key diagnostics of the central regions of AGN. Their profiles indicate that they are formed deep in the potential well of the central black hole, where extreme broadening and red shift occur. The profiles are most easily reproducible in an accretion disk: the lack of significant emission blue-ward of the rest energy is difficult produce in other geometries. In one source an apparent (and perhaps variable) absorption feature in the red wing of the line may represent rare evidence for inflow onto the black hole. Sample analysis has defined the mean properties, showing a strong concentration of the emission in the central regions and face-on accretion disks, at least in Seyfert 1 galaxies. Surprising results have been obtained from examination of the line variability. Strong profile changes may be accounted for by changes in the illumination pattern of the central, relativistic part of the disk. In at least the case of MCG-6-30-15, there is evidence for emission from within 6 R_g, possibly indicating a spinning black hole. Developing an understanding of these complex changes has the potential to reveal the geometry and kinematics of the inner few gravitational radii around extragalactic black holes.Comment: 10 pages, 3 figures, to appear in "Proceedings of X-ray Astronomy '99 - Stellar Endpoints, AGN and the Diffuse Background". Also available via http://lheawww.gsfc.nasa.gov/users/nandra/home.htm

    A Compton Thick AGN Powering the Hyperluminous Infrared Galaxy IRAS 00182--7112

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    We present X-ray observations of the Hyperluminous Infrared Galaxy (HLIRG) IRAS 00182--7112 (F00183--7111) obtained using the XMM-Newton EPIC camera. A luminous hard X-ray source co-incident with the nucleus is revealed, along with weaker soft X-ray emission which may be extended or offset from the hard. The EPIC spectrum is extremely flat and shows Fe Kα\alpha emission with very high equivalent width: both are typical characteristics of a buried, Compton--thick AGN which is seen only in scattered light. Perhaps the most remarkable characteristic of the spectrum is that the Fe Kα\alpha line energy is that of He-like iron, making IRAS 00182--7112 the first hidden AGN known to be dominated by ionized, Compton thick reflection. Taking an appropriate bolometric correction we find that this AGN could easily dominate the FIR energetics. The nuclear reflection spectrum is seen through a relatively cold absorber with column density consistent with recent Spitzer observations. The soft X-ray emission, which may be thermal in nature and associated with star-forming activity, is seen unabsorbed. The soft X-rays and weak PAH features both give estimates of the star formation rate 300M\sim 300 M_{\odot} yr1^{-1}, insufficient to power the FIR emission and supportive of the idea that this HLIRG is AGN-dominated.Comment: 6 pages, 3 figures, accepted for publication in MNRAS Letter

    ASCA and ROSAT observations of NGC5548: discrepant spectral indices

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    We report on simultaneous ASCA and ROSAT observations of the Seyfert galaxy NGC5548 made during the ASCA Performance Verification phase. Spectral features due to a warm absorber and reflection are clearly seen in the X-ray spectra. We find that the continuum spectral shape differs between the ASCA and ROSAT datasets. The photon-index obtained from the ROSAT PSPC exceeds that from the ASCA SIS about 0.4. The discrepancy is clear even in the 0.5-2 keV energy band over which both detectors are sensitive. The spectra cannot be made consistent by choosing a more complex model. The problem likely lies in the response curve (estimated effective area) of one, or both, detectors. There may be important consequences for a wide range of published results.Comment: 9 pages, accepted for publication in MNRA

    The Number Density of Intermediate and High Luminosity Active Galactic Nuclei at z~2-3

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    We use the combination of the 2 Ms Chandra X-ray image, new J and H band images, and the Spitzer IRAC and MIPS images of the Chandra Deep Field-North to obtain high spectroscopic and photometric redshift completeness of high and intermediate X-ray luminosity sources in the redshift interval z=2-3. We measure the number densities of z=2-3 active galactic nuclei (AGNs) and broad-line AGNs in the rest-frame 2-8 keV luminosity intervals 10^44-10^45 and 10^43-10^44 ergs/s and compare with previous lower redshift results. We confirm a decline in the number densities of intermediate-luminosity sources at z>1. We also measure the number density of z=2-3 AGNs in the luminosity interval 10^43-10^44.5 ergs/s and compare with previous low and high-redshift results. Again, we find a decline in the number densities at z>1. In both cases, we can rule out the hypothesis that the number densities remain flat to z=2-3 at above the 5-sigma level.Comment: 8 pages, Accepted by The Astrophysical Journal (scheduled for 10 Dec 2005

    X-ray and optical counterparts of hard X-ray selected sources from the SHEEP survey: first results

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    We present followup observations of five hard X-ray sources from the ASCA 5-10 keV SHEEP survey, which has a limiting flux of 1013\sim 10^{-13} erg cm2^{-2} s1^{-1}. Chandra data have been obtained to improve the X-ray positions from a few arcmin to <1<1'', which allows unambiguous optical identification. While the objects almost certainly house AGN based on their X-ray luminosity, optical spectroscopy reveals a variety of properties. The identifications indicate that the SHEEP survey samples the same populations as deeper surveys which probe the origin of the X-ray background, but because the SHEEP sources are far brighter, they are more amenable to detailed followup work. We find a variety of classifications and properties, including a type II QSO, a galaxy undergoing star formation, and a broad-line AGN which has a very hard X-ray spectrum, indicating substantial absorption in the X-ray but none in the optical. Two objects have X-ray/optical flux ratios which, were they at an X-ray flux level typical of objects in Chandra deep surveys, would place them in the ``optically faint'' category. They are both identified with broad line QSOs at z1\sim 1. Clearly this survey - which is relatively unbiased against obscured objects - is revealing a set of remarkable objects quite different to the familiar classes of AGN found in previous optical and soft X-ray surveys.Comment: 5 pages, 3 figures. MNRAS, in pres

    Constraining the fraction of Compton-thick AGN in the Universe by modelling the diffuse X-ray background spectrum

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    This paper investigates what constraints can be placed on the fraction of Compton-thick (CT) AGN in the Universe from the modeling of the spectrum of the diffuse X-ray background (XRB). We present a model for the synthesis of the XRB that uses as input a library of AGN X-ray spectra generated by the Monte Carlo simulations described by Brightman & Nandra. This is essential to account for the Compton scattering of X-ray photons in a dense medium and the impact of that process on the spectra of obscured AGN. We identify a small number of input parameters to the XRB synthesis code which encapsulate the minimum level of uncertainty in reconstructing the XRB spectrum. These are the power-law index and high energy cutoff of the intrinsic X-ray spectra of AGN, the level of the reflection component in AGN spectra and the fraction of CT AGN in the Universe. We then map the volume of the space allowed to these parameters by current observations of the XRB spectrum in the range 3-100 keV. One of the least constrained parameters is the fraction of CT AGN. Statistically acceptable fits to the XRB spectrum at the 68% confidence level can be obtained for CT fractions in the range 5-50%. This is because of degeneracies among input parameters to the XRB synthesis code and uncertainties in the modeling of AGN spectra (e.g. reflection). The most promising route for constraining the fraction of CT AGN in the Universe is via the direct detection of those sources in high energy (>10keV) surveys. It is shown that the observed fraction of CT sources identified in the SWIFT/BAT survey, limits the intrinsic fraction of CT AGN, at least at low redshift, to 10-20% (68% confidence level). We also make predictions on the number density of CT sources that current and future X-ray missions are expected to discover. Testing those predictions will constrain the intrinsic fraction of CT AGN as a function of redshift.Comment: To appear in A&