Journal Article

Multidimensional modelling of X-ray spectra for AGN accretion disc outflows – II

S. A. Sim, L. Miller, K. S. Long, T. J. Turner and J. N. Reeves

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 404, issue 3, pages 1369-1384
Published in print May 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online May 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Multidimensional modelling of X-ray spectra for AGN accretion disc outflows – II

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Highly ionized fast accretion disc winds have been suggested as an explanation for a variety of observed absorption and emission features in the X-ray spectra of active galactic nuclei. Simple estimates have suggested that these flows may be massive enough to carry away a significant fraction of the accretion energy and could be involved in creating the link between supermassive black holes and their host galaxies. However, testing these hypotheses, and quantifying the outflow signatures, requires high-quality theoretical spectra for comparison with observations. Here, we describe extensions of our Monte Carlo radiative transfer code that allow us to generate realistic theoretical spectra for a much wider variety of disc wind models than that was possible in our previous work. In particular, we have expanded the range of atomic physics simulated by the code so that L- and M-shell ions can now be included. We have also substantially improved our treatment of both ionization and radiative heating such that we are now able to compute spectra for outflows containing far more diverse plasma conditions. We present example calculations that illustrate the variety of spectral features predicted by parametrized outflow models and demonstrate their applicability to the interpretation of data by comparison with observations of the bright quasar PG1211+143. We find that the major features in the observed 2–10 keV spectrum of this object can be well reproduced by our spectra, confirming that it likely hosts a massive outflow.

Keywords: radiative transfer; methods: numerical; galaxies: active; galaxies: individual: PG1211+143; X-rays: galaxies

Journal Article.  12176 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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