We report a dramatic variability event in the X-ray history of the narrow-line quasar PHL 1092 (z = 0.396). Our latest 2008 XMM-Newton observation reveals a flux drop of ~200 with respect to the previous observation performed about 4.5 yr earlier, and a drop of ~ 135 with respect to its historical flux. Despite the huge X-ray variation, the UV flux remains constant producing a very significant steepening of the optical to X-ray slope αox from -1.56 to -2.44, making PHL 1092 one of the most extreme X-ray weak quasars. The similarity in the soft X-ray spectral shape between the present and previous observations, together with the persistent UV flux and the lack of any dramatic change in the optical spectrum, suggests that an absorption event is not likely to be the origin of the observed variation. If absorption is ruled out, the sudden X-ray weakness of PHL 1092 must be produced by a transient significant weakening or disruption of the X-ray emitting corona.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters|
|State||Published - Jun 2009|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science