X-ray observations of the Ultraluminous infrared galaxy IRAS19254-7245 (The Superantennae)


We present ROSAT HRI and ASCA observations of the well known ULIRG IRAS19254-7245 (the Superantennae). The object is not detected by ROSAT yielding a 3\sigma upper limit of L_x ~8x10^{41} erg/s in the 0.1-2 keV band. However, we obtain a clear detection by ASCA yielding a luminosity in the 2-10 keV band of 2 \times 10^{42}erg/s. Its X-ray spectrum is very hard, equivalent to a photon index of Gamma=1.0+-0.35. We therefore, attempt to model the X-ray data with a "scatterer" model in which the intrinsic X-ray emission along our line of sight is obscured by an absorbing screen while some fraction, f, is scattered into our line of sight by an ionized medium; this is the standard model for the X-ray emission in obscured (but non Compton-thick) Seyfert galaxies. We obtain an absorbing column of 2x10^{23}cm^{-2} for a power-law photon index of Gamma=1.9, an order of magnitude above the column estimated on the basis of optical observations; the percentage of the scattered emission is high (~20%). Alternatively, a model where most of the X-ray emission comes from reflection on a Compton thick torus (N_H>10^{24} cm^{-2}) cannot be ruled out. We do not detect an Fe line at 6.4 keV; however, the upper limit (90%) to the equivalent width of the 6.4 keV line is high (~3 keV). All the above suggest that most of the X-ray emission originates in an highly obscured Seyfert-2 nucleus.Comment: 5 pages, 1 figure, 1 table, To appear in MNRA

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