Journal Article

Does the X-ray emission of the luminous quasar RBS 1124 originate in a mildly relativistic outflowing corona?

G. Miniutti, E. Piconcelli, S. Bianchi, C. Vignali and E. Bozzo

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 401, issue 2, pages 1315-1324
Published in print January 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online January 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Does the X-ray emission of the luminous quasar RBS 1124 originate in a mildly relativistic outflowing corona?

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We have observed the luminous (L2-10 keV≃ 6 × 1044 erg s−1) radio-quiet quasar RBS 1124 (z= 0.208) with Suzaku. We report the detection of a moderately broad iron (Fe) line and of a weak soft X-ray excess. The X-ray data are very well described by a simple model comprising a power-law X-ray continuum plus its reflection off the accretion disc. If the inner disc radius we measure (rin≤ 3.8 gravitational radii) is identified with the innermost stable circular orbit of the black hole space–time, we infer that the black hole powering RBS 1124 is rotating rapidly with spin a≥ 0.6. The soft excess contribution in the 0.5–2 keV band is ∼15 per cent, about half than that typically observed in unobscured Seyfert 1 galaxies and quasars, in line with the low disc reflection fraction we measure (Rdisc≃ 0.4). The low reflection fraction cannot be driven by disc truncation which is at odds not only with the small inner disc radius we infer but, most importantly, with the radiatively efficient nature of the source (LBol/LEdd≃ 1). A plausible explanation is that the X-ray corona is the base of a failed jet (RBS 1124 being radio-quiet) and actually outflowing at mildly relativistic speeds. Aberration reduces the irradiation of the disc, thus forcing a lower than standard reflection fraction, and halves the inferred source intrinsic luminosity, reducing the derived Eddington ratio from ≃1 to ≃0.5. A partial covering model provides a statistically equivalent description of the 0.3–10 keV data, but provides a worse fit above 10 keV. More importantly, its properties are not consistent with being associated to the Fe emission line, worsening the degree of self-consistency of the model. Moreover, the partial covering model implies that RBS 1124 is radiating well above its Eddington luminosity, which seems unlikely and very far off from previous estimates.

Keywords: galaxies: active; X-rays: galaxies

Journal Article.  8358 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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