The asca x-ray spectrum of the broad-line radio galaxy pictor a: a simple power law with no fe kα line

Michael Eracleous, Jules P. Halpern

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Abstract

We present the X-ray spectrum of the broad-line radio galaxy Pictor A as observed by ASCA in 1996. The main objective of the observation was to detect and study the profiles of the Fe Kα lines. The motivation was the fact that the Balmer lines of this object show well-separated displaced peaks, suggesting an origin in an accretion disk. The 0.5-10 keV X-ray spectrum is described very well by a model consisting of a power law of photon index 1.77 modified by interstellar photoelectric absorption. We find evidence for neither a soft nor a hard (Compton reflection) excess. More importantly, we do not detect an Fe Kα line, in marked contrast with the spectra of typical Seyfert galaxies and other broad-line radio galaxies observed by ASCA. The 99% confidence upper limit on the equivalent width of an unresolved line at a rest energy of 6.4 keV is 100 eV, while for a broad line (FWHM ≈ 60,000 km s-1), the corresponding upper limit is 135 eV. We discuss several possible explanations for the weakness of the Fe Kα line in Pictor A paying attention to the currently available data on the properties of Fe Kα lines in other broad-line radio galaxies observed by ASCA. We speculate that the absence of a hard excess (Compton reflection) or an Fe Kα line is an indication of an accretion disk structure that is different from that of typical Seyfert galaxies, e.g., the inner disk may be an ion torus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)577-586
Number of pages10
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Volume505
Issue number2 PART I
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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