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XMM-Newton EPIC observations of 21 low-redshift PG quasars

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posted on 2012-10-24, 09:08 authored by D. Porquet, W. Brinkmann, J. N. Reeves, P. O'Brien
We present an X-ray spectral analysis of 21 low redshift quasars observed with XMM-Newton EPIC. All the sources are Palomar Green quasars with redshifts between 0.05 and 0.4 and have low Galactic absorption along the line-of-sight. A large majority of quasars in the sample (19/21) exhibit a significant soft excess below ~1-1.5 keV, whilst two objects (PG 1114+445 and I Zw1) show a deficit of soft X-ray flux due to the presence of a strong warm absorber. Indeed, contrary to previous studies with ASCA and ROSAT, we find that the presence of absorption features near 0.6-1.0 keV is common in our sample. At least half of the objects appear to harbor a warm absorber, as found previously in Seyfert 1 galaxies. We find significant detections of Fe K $\alpha$ emission lines in at least twelve objects, whilst there is evidence for some broadening of the line profile, compared to the EPIC-pn resolution, in five of these quasars. The determination of the nature of this broadening (e.g., Keplerian motion, a blend of lines, relativistic effects) is not possible with the present data and requires either higher S/N or higher resolution spectra. In seven objects the line is located between 6.7-7 keV, corresponding to highly ionized iron, whereas in the other five objects the line energy is consistent with 6.4 keV, i.e. corresponding to near neutral iron. The ionized lines tend to be found in the quasars with the steepest X-ray spectra. We also find a correlation between the continuum power law index $\Gamma$ and the optical H $\beta$ width, in both the soft and hard X-ray bands, whereby the steepest X-ray spectra are found in objects with narrow H $\beta$ widths, which confirms previous ROSAT and ASCA results. The soft and hard band X-ray photon indices are also strongly correlated, i.e. the steepest soft X-ray spectra correspond the steepest hard X-ray spectra. We propose that a high accretion rate and a smaller black hole mass is likely to be the physical driver responsible for these trends, with the steep spectrum objects likely to have smaller black hole masses accreting near the Eddington rate.



Astronomy & Astrophysics, 2004, 422 (1), pp. 85-95


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