We report on our analysis of XMM-Newton observations of the Seyfert 2 galaxy ESO 138-G1 (z = 0.0091). These data reveal a complex spectrum in both its soft and hard portions. The 0.5-2 keV band is characterized by a strong "soft-excess" component with several emission lines, as commonly observed in other narrow-line AGN. Above 3 keV, a power-law fit yields a very flat slope (Γ ~ 0.35), along with the presence of a prominent line-like emission feature around ~6.4 keV. This indicates heavy obscuration along the line of sight to the nucleus. We find an excellent fit to the 3-10 keV continuum with a pure reflection model, which provides strong evidence of a Compton-thick screen, preventing direct detection of the intrinsic nuclear X-ray emission. Although a model consisting of a power law transmitted through an absorber with NH ~ 2.5 × 10^23 cm-2 also provides a reasonable fit to the hard X-ray data, the equivalent width (EW) value of ~800 eV measured for the Fe Kα emission line is inconsistent with a primary continuum obscured by a Compton-thin column density. Furthermore, the ratio of 2-10 keV to de-reddened [OIII] fluxes for ESO 138-G1 agrees with the typical values reported for well-studied Compton-thick Seyfert galaxies. Finally, we also note that the upper limits to the 15-150 keV flux provided by Swift/BAT and INTEGRAL/IBIS seem to rule out the presence of a transmitted component of the nuclear continuum even in this very hard X-ray band, hence imply that the column density of the absorber could be as high as 10^25 cm-2. This makes ESO 138-G1 a very interesting, heavy Compton-thick AGN candidate for the next X-ray missions with spectroscopic and imaging capabilities above 10 keV.

X-ray spectroscopy of the Compton-thick Seyfert 2 ESO 138-G1

VIGNALI, CRISTIAN;
2011

Abstract

We report on our analysis of XMM-Newton observations of the Seyfert 2 galaxy ESO 138-G1 (z = 0.0091). These data reveal a complex spectrum in both its soft and hard portions. The 0.5-2 keV band is characterized by a strong "soft-excess" component with several emission lines, as commonly observed in other narrow-line AGN. Above 3 keV, a power-law fit yields a very flat slope (Γ ~ 0.35), along with the presence of a prominent line-like emission feature around ~6.4 keV. This indicates heavy obscuration along the line of sight to the nucleus. We find an excellent fit to the 3-10 keV continuum with a pure reflection model, which provides strong evidence of a Compton-thick screen, preventing direct detection of the intrinsic nuclear X-ray emission. Although a model consisting of a power law transmitted through an absorber with NH ~ 2.5 × 10^23 cm-2 also provides a reasonable fit to the hard X-ray data, the equivalent width (EW) value of ~800 eV measured for the Fe Kα emission line is inconsistent with a primary continuum obscured by a Compton-thin column density. Furthermore, the ratio of 2-10 keV to de-reddened [OIII] fluxes for ESO 138-G1 agrees with the typical values reported for well-studied Compton-thick Seyfert galaxies. Finally, we also note that the upper limits to the 15-150 keV flux provided by Swift/BAT and INTEGRAL/IBIS seem to rule out the presence of a transmitted component of the nuclear continuum even in this very hard X-ray band, hence imply that the column density of the absorber could be as high as 10^25 cm-2. This makes ESO 138-G1 a very interesting, heavy Compton-thick AGN candidate for the next X-ray missions with spectroscopic and imaging capabilities above 10 keV.
Piconcelli E.; Bianchi S.; Vignali C.; Jimenez-Bailon E.; Fiore F.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/106434
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