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Long-term X-ray spectral variability in AGN from the Palomar sample observed by Swift

Long-term X-ray spectral variability in AGN from the Palomar sample observed by Swift
Long-term X-ray spectral variability in AGN from the Palomar sample observed by Swift
We present X-ray spectral variability of 24 local active galactic nuclei (AGN) from the Palomar sample of nearby galaxies, as observed mainly by Swift. From hardness ratio measurements, we find that 18 AGN with low accretion rates show hardening with increasing count rate, converse to the softer-when-brighter behaviour normally observed in AGN with higher accretion rates. Two AGN show softening with increasing count rate, two show more complex behaviour, and two do not show any simple relationship. Sufficient data were available for the spectra of 13 AGN to be summed in flux-bins. In nine of these sources, correlated luminosity-dependent changes in the photon index (?) of a power-law component are found to be the main cause of hardness variability. For six objects, with a low accretion rate as a fraction of the Eddington rate (m?Edd), ? is anticorrelated with m?Edd, i.e. ‘harder-when-brighter’ behaviour is observed. The three higher m?Edd-rate objects show a positive correlation between ? and m?Edd. This transition from harder-when-brighter at low m?Eddto softer-when-brighter at high m?Edd can be explained by a change in the dominant source of seed-photons for X-ray emission from cyclo-synchrotron emission from the Comptonizing corona itself to thermal seed-photons from the accretion disc. This transition is also seen in the ‘hard state’ of black hole X-ray binaries (BHXRBs). The results support the idea that low-ionization nuclear emission-line regions are analogues of BHXRBs in the hard state and that Seyferts are analogues of BHXRBs in either the high-accretion rate end of the hard state or in the hard-intermediate state.
0035-8711
3963-3985
Connolly, S.
73b7ee98-bf7c-4064-a04d-e7ece13061e4
Mchardy, I.M.
4f215137-9cc4-4a08-982e-772a0b24c17e
Skipper, C.J.
82e4af5e-77de-4828-a52b-b79e90812335
Emmanoulopoulos, D.
ee2db4c6-3379-4604-8711-f779fb74f538
Connolly, S.
73b7ee98-bf7c-4064-a04d-e7ece13061e4
Mchardy, I.M.
4f215137-9cc4-4a08-982e-772a0b24c17e
Skipper, C.J.
82e4af5e-77de-4828-a52b-b79e90812335
Emmanoulopoulos, D.
ee2db4c6-3379-4604-8711-f779fb74f538

Connolly, S., Mchardy, I.M., Skipper, C.J. and Emmanoulopoulos, D. (2016) Long-term X-ray spectral variability in AGN from the Palomar sample observed by Swift. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 459 (4), 3963-3985. (doi:10.1093/mnras/stw878).

Record type: Article

Abstract

We present X-ray spectral variability of 24 local active galactic nuclei (AGN) from the Palomar sample of nearby galaxies, as observed mainly by Swift. From hardness ratio measurements, we find that 18 AGN with low accretion rates show hardening with increasing count rate, converse to the softer-when-brighter behaviour normally observed in AGN with higher accretion rates. Two AGN show softening with increasing count rate, two show more complex behaviour, and two do not show any simple relationship. Sufficient data were available for the spectra of 13 AGN to be summed in flux-bins. In nine of these sources, correlated luminosity-dependent changes in the photon index (?) of a power-law component are found to be the main cause of hardness variability. For six objects, with a low accretion rate as a fraction of the Eddington rate (m?Edd), ? is anticorrelated with m?Edd, i.e. ‘harder-when-brighter’ behaviour is observed. The three higher m?Edd-rate objects show a positive correlation between ? and m?Edd. This transition from harder-when-brighter at low m?Eddto softer-when-brighter at high m?Edd can be explained by a change in the dominant source of seed-photons for X-ray emission from cyclo-synchrotron emission from the Comptonizing corona itself to thermal seed-photons from the accretion disc. This transition is also seen in the ‘hard state’ of black hole X-ray binaries (BHXRBs). The results support the idea that low-ionization nuclear emission-line regions are analogues of BHXRBs in the hard state and that Seyferts are analogues of BHXRBs in either the high-accretion rate end of the hard state or in the hard-intermediate state.

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Accepted/In Press date: 12 April 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 15 April 2016
Published date: 11 July 2016
Organisations: Astronomy Group

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 401486
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/401486
ISSN: 0035-8711
PURE UUID: a471a6c3-65ee-4353-8476-90644d6c2038
ORCID for D. Emmanoulopoulos: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-3335-2446

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Date deposited: 18 Oct 2016 08:47
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 01:42

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