Revealing a hard X-ray spectral component that reverberates within one light hour of the central supermassive black hole in Ark 564

Article, Preprint English OPEN
Giustini, M ; Turner, TJ ; Reeves, JN ; Miller, L ; Legg, E ; Kraemer, SB ; George, IM (2015)
  • Publisher: EDP Sciences
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1051/0004-6361/201425280
  • Subject: QB | Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
    arxiv: Astrophysics::Galaxy Astrophysics | Astrophysics::High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena | Astrophysics::Cosmology and Extragalactic Astrophysics

Ark 564 (z=0.0247) is an X-ray-bright NLS1. By using advanced X-ray timing techniques, an excess of "delayed" emission in the hard X-ray band (4-7.5 keV) following about 1000 seconds after "flaring" light in the soft X-ray band (0.4-1 keV) was recently detected. We report on the X-ray spectral analysis of eight XMM-Newton and one Suzaku observation of Ark 564. High-resolution spectroscopy was performed with the RGS in the soft X-ray band, while broad-band spectroscopy was performed with the EPIC-pn and XIS/PIN instruments. We analysed time-averaged, flux-selected, and time-resolved spectra. Despite the strong variability in flux during our observational campaign, the broad-band spectral shape of Ark 564 does not vary dramatically and can be reproduced either by a superposition of a power law and a blackbody emission or by a Comptonized power-law emission model. High-resolution spectroscopy revealed ionised gas along the line of sight at the systemic redshift of the source, with a low column density and a range of ionisation states. Broad-band spectroscopy revealed a very steep intrinsic continuum and a rather weak emission feature in the iron K band; modelling this feature with a reflection component requires highly ionised gas. A reflection-dominated or an absorption-dominated model are similarly able to well reproduce the time-averaged data from a statistical point of view, in both cases requiring contrived geometries and/or unlikely physical parameters. Finally, through time-resolved analysis we spectroscopically identified the "delayed" emission as a spectral hardening above ~4 keV; the most likely interpretation for this component is a reprocessing of the "flaring" light by gas located at 10-100 r_g from the central supermassive black hole that is so hot that it can Compton-upscatter the flaring intrinsic continuum emission.
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