X-ray spectra and time variability of active galactic nuclei


The X-ray spectra of broad line active galactic nuclei (AGN) of all types (Seyfert I's, NELG's, broadline radio galaxies) are well fit by a power law in the .5 to 100 keV band of man energy slope alpha = .68 + or - .15. There is, as yet, no strong evidence for time variability of this slope in a given object. The constraints that this places on simple models of the central energy source are discussed. BL Lac objects have quite different X-ray spectral properties and show pronounced X-ray spectral variability. On time scales longer than 12 hours most radio quiet AGN do not show strong, delta I/I .5, variability. The probability of variability of these AGN seems to be inversely related to their luminosity. However characteristics timescales for variability have not been measured for many objects. This general lack of variability may imply that most AGN are well below the Eddington limit. Radio bright AGN tend to be more variable than radio quiet AGN on long, tau approx 6 month, timescales

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