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Bauer F.E.,University of Santiago de Chile | Bauer F.E.,Millenium Institute of Astrophysics | Bauer F.E.,Space Science Institute | Arevalo P.,EMBIGGEN Anillo | And 32 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2015

We report on high-energy X-ray observations of the Compton-thick Seyfert 2 galaxy NGC 1068 with NuSTAR, which provide the best constraints to date on its >10 keV spectral shape. The NuSTAR data are consistent with those from past and current instruments to within cross-calibration uncertainties, and we find no strong continuum or line variability over the past two decades, which is in line with its X-ray classification as a reflection-dominated Compton-thick active galactic nucleus. The combined NuSTAR, Chandra, XMM-Newton, and Swift BAT spectral data set offers new insights into the complex secondary emission seen instead of the completely obscured transmitted nuclear continuum. The critical combination of the high signal-to-noise NuSTAR data and the decomposition of the nuclear and extranuclear emission with Chandra allow us to break several model degeneracies and greatly aid physical interpretation. When modeled as a monolithic (i.e., a single NH) reflector, none of the common Compton reflection models are able to match the neutral fluorescence lines and broad spectral shape of the Compton reflection hump without requiring unrealistic physical parameters (e.g., large Fe overabundances, inconsistent viewing angles, or poor fits to the spatially resolved spectra). A multi-component reflector with three distinct column densities (e.g., with best-fit values of NH of 1.4 × 1023, 5.0 × 1024, and 1025 cm-2) provides a more reasonable fit to the spectral lines and Compton hump, with near-solar Fe abundances. In this model, the higher NH component provides the bulk of the flux to the Compton hump, while the lower NH component produces much of the line emission, effectively decoupling two key features of Compton reflection. We find that ≈30% of the neutral Fe K-α line flux arises from >2″ (≈140 pc) and is clearly extended, implying that a significant fraction (and perhaps most) of the <10 keV reflected component arises from regions well outside a parsec-scale torus. These results likely have ramifications for the interpretation of Compton-thick spectra from observations with poorer signal-to-noise and/or more distant objects. © 2015. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..


Brightman M.,California Institute of Technology | Brightman M.,Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics | Balokovic M.,California Institute of Technology | Stern D.,Jet Propulsion Laboratory | And 25 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2015

The covering factor of Compton-thick (CT) obscuring material associated with the torus in active galactic nuclei (AGNs) is at present best understood through the fraction of sources exhibiting CT absorption along the line of sight (NH > 1.5 × 1024 cm-2) in the X-ray band, which reveals the average covering factor. Determining this CT fraction is difficult, however, due to the extreme obscuration. With its spectral coverage at hard X-rays (>10 keV), Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) is sensitive to the AGNs covering factor since Compton scattering of X-rays off optically thick material dominates at these energies. We present a spectral analysis of 10 AGNs observed with NuSTAR where the obscuring medium is optically thick to Compton scattering, so-called CT AGNs. We use the torus models of Brightman & Nandra that predict the X-ray spectrum from reprocessing in a torus and include the torus opening angle as a free parameter and aim to determine the covering factor of the CT gas in these sources individually. Across the sample we find mild to heavy CT columns, with NH measured from 1024 to 1026 cm-2, and a wide range of covering factors, where individual measurements range from 0.2 to 0.9. We find that the covering factor, fc, is a strongly decreasing function of the intrinsic 2-10 keV luminosity, LX, where fc = (-0.41 ± 0.13)log10(LX/erg s-1)+18.31 ± 5.33, across more than two orders of magnitude in LX (1041.5-1044 erg s-1). The covering factors measured here agree well with the obscured fraction as a function of LX as determined by studies of local AGNs with LX > 1042.5 erg s-1. © 2015. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


Luo B.,Pennsylvania State University | Brandt W.N.,Pennsylvania State University | Alexander D.M.,Durham University | Stern D.,Jet Propulsion Laboratory | And 23 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2014

We report NuSTAR observations of a sample of six X-ray weak broad absorption line (BAL) quasars. These targets, at z = 0.148-1.223, are among the optically brightest and most luminous BAL quasars known at z < 1.3. However, their rest-frame 2 keV luminosities are 14 to >330 times weaker than expected for typical quasars. Our results from a pilot NuSTAR study of two low-redshift BAL quasars, a Chandra stacking analysis of a sample of high-redshift BAL quasars, and a NuSTAR spectral analysis of the local BAL quasar Mrk 231 have already suggested the existence of intrinsically X-ray weak BAL quasars, i.e., quasars not emitting X-rays at the level expected from their optical/UV emission. The aim of the current program is to extend the search for such extraordinary objects. Three of the six new targets are weakly detected by NuSTAR with ≲ 45 counts in the 3-24 keV band, and the other three are not detected. The hard X-ray (8-24 keV) weakness observed by NuSTAR requires Compton-thick absorption if these objects have nominal underlying X-ray emission. However, a soft stacked effective photon index (Γeff1.8) for this sample disfavors Compton-thick absorption in general. The uniform hard X-ray weakness observed by NuSTAR for this and the pilot samples selected with <10 keV weakness also suggests that the X-ray weakness is intrinsic in at least some of the targets. We conclude that the NuSTAR observations have likely discovered a significant population (≳ 33%) of intrinsically X-ray weak objects among the BAL quasars with significantly weak <10 keV emission. We suggest that intrinsically X-ray weak quasars might be preferentially observed as BAL quasars. © 2014. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..


Gandhi P.,Durham University | Lansbury G.B.,Durham University | Alexander D.M.,Durham University | Stern D.,Jet Propulsion Laboratory | And 32 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2014

We present Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) 3-40 keV observations of the optically selected Type 2 quasar (QSO2) SDSS J1034+6001 or Mrk 34. The high-quality hard X-ray spectrum and archival XMM-Newton data can be fitted self-consistently with a reflection-dominated continuum and a strong Fe Kα fluorescence line with equivalent width >1 keV. Prior X-ray spectral fitting below 10 keV showed the source to be consistent with being obscured by Compton-thin column densities of gas along the line of sight, despite evidence for much higher columns from multiwavelength data. NuSTAR now enables a direct measurement of this column and shows that N Hlies in the Compton-thick (CT) regime. The new data also show a high intrinsic 2-10 keV luminosity of L 2-10 ∼ 1044 erg s-1, in contrast to previous low-energy X-ray measurements where L 2-10 ≲ 1043 erg s-1 (i.e., X-ray selection below 10 keV does not pick up this source as an intrinsically luminous obscured quasar). Both the obscuring column and the intrinsic power are about an order of magnitude (or more) larger than inferred from pre-NuSTAR X-ray spectral fitting. Mrk 34 is thus a "gold standard" CT QSO2 and is the nearest non-merging system in this class, in contrast to the other local CT quasar NGC 6240, which is currently undergoing a major merger coupled with strong star formation. For typical X-ray bolometric correction factors, the accretion luminosity of Mrk 34 is high enough to potentially power the total infrared luminosity. X-ray spectral fitting also shows that thermal emission related to star formation is unlikely to drive the observed bright soft component below ∼3 keV, favoring photoionization instead. © 2014. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved..


Arevalo P.,University of Santiago de Chile | Arevalo P.,University of Valparaíso | Bauer F.E.,University of Santiago de Chile | Bauer F.E.,Millennium Institute of Astrophysics | And 29 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2014

The Circinus galaxy is one of the closest obscured active galactic nuclei (AGNs), making it an ideal target for detailed study. Combining archival Chandra and XMM-Newton data with new NuSTAR observations, we model the 2-79 keV spectrum to constrain the primary AGN continuum and to derive physical parameters for the obscuring material. Chandra's high angular resolution allows a separation of nuclear and off-nuclear galactic emission. In the off-nuclear diffuse emission, we find signatures of strong cold reflection, including high equivalent-width neutral Fe lines. This Compton-scattered off-nuclear emission amounts to 18% of the nuclear flux in the Fe line region, but becomes comparable to the nuclear emission above 30 keV. The new analysis no longer supports a prominent transmitted AGN component in the observed band. We find that the nuclear spectrum is consistent with Compton scattering by an optically thick torus, where the intrinsic spectrum is a power law of photon index Γ = 2.2-2.4, the torus has an equatorial column density of N H = (6-10) × 1024 cm-2, and the intrinsic AGN 2-10 keV luminosity is (2.3-5.1) × 1042 erg s-1. These values place Circinus along the same relations as unobscured AGNs in accretion rate versus Γ and LX versus L IR phase space. NuSTAR's high sensitivity and low background allow us to study the short timescale variability of Circinus at X-ray energies above 10 keV for the first time. The lack of detected variability favors a Compton-thick absorber, in line with the spectral fitting results. © 2014. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


Puccetti S.,ASDC ASI | Puccetti S.,National institute for astrophysics | Comastri A.,National institute for astrophysics | Fiore F.,National institute for astrophysics | And 22 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2014

We present a broadband (∼0.5-79 keV) spectral and temporal analysis of multiple NuSTAR observations combined with archival Suzaku and Chandra data of NGC 4945, the brightest extragalactic source at 100 keV. We observe hard X-ray (>10 keV) flux and spectral variability, with flux variations of a factor of two on timescales of 20 ks. A variable primary continuum dominates the high-energy spectrum (>10 keV) in all states, while the reflected/scattered flux that dominates at E <10 keV stays approximately constant. From modeling the complex reflection/transmission spectrum, we derive a Compton depth along the line of sight of τThomson∼ 2.9, and a global covering factor for the circumnuclear gas of ∼0.15. This agrees with the constraints derived from the high-energy variability, which implies that most of the high-energy flux is transmitted rather than Compton-scattered. This demonstrates the effectiveness of spectral analysis at constraining the geometric properties of the circumnuclear gas, and validates similar methods used for analyzing the spectra of other bright, Compton-thick active galactic nuclei (AGNs). The lower limits on the e-folding energy are between 200 and 300 keV, consistent with previous BeppoSAX, Suzaku, and Swift Burst Alert Telescope observations. The accretion rate, estimated from the X-ray luminosity and assuming a bolometric correction typical of type 2 AGN, is in the range ∼0.1-0.3 λEdddepending on the flux state. The substantial observed X-ray luminosity variability of NGC 4945 implies that large errors can arise from using single-epoch X-ray data to derive L/LEddvalues for obscured AGNs. © 2014. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


Marinucci A.,Third University of Rome | Matt G.,Third University of Rome | Bianchi S.,Third University of Rome | Lu T.N.,California Institute of Technology | And 19 more authors.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society | Year: 2014

We present NuSTAR observations of the bright Seyfert 2 galaxy NGC 2110 obtained in 2012, when the source was at the highest flux level ever observed, and in 2013, when the source was at a more typical flux level. We include archival observations from other X-ray satellites, namely XMM-Newton, Suzaku, BeppoSAX, Chandra and Swift. Simultaneous NuSTAR and Swift broad-band spectra (in the 3-80 keV range) indicate a cutoff energy Ec > 210 keV, with no detectable contribution from Compton reflection. NGC 2110 is one of the very few sources where no evidence for distant Compton-thick scattering is found and, by using temporal information collected over more than a decade, we investigate variations of the iron Kα line on time-scales of years. The Fe Kα line is likely the sum of two components: one constant (originating from distant Compton-thick material) and the other one variable and linearly correlated with the source flux (possibly arising from Compton-thin material much closer to the black hole). © 2014 The Authors.


Mullaney J.R.,Durham University | Mullaney J.R.,University of Sheffield | Del-Moro A.,Durham University | Aird J.,Durham University | And 41 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2015

We present the initial results and the source catalog from the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) survey of the Extended Chandra Deep Field South (hereafter, ECDFS) - currently the deepest contiguous component of the NuSTAR extragalactic survey program. The survey covers the full ≈30′ ×30′ area of this field to a maximum depth of ≈360 ks ( ks when corrected for vignetting at 3-24 keV), reaching sensitivity limits of (3-8 keV), (8-24 keV), and (3-24 keV). A total of 54 sources are detected over the full field, although five of these are found to lie below our significance threshold once contaminating flux from neighboring (i.e., blended) sources is taken into account. Of the remaining 49 that are significant, 19 are detected in the 8-24 keV band. The 8-24 to 3-8 keV band ratios of the 12 sources that are detected in both bands span the range 0.39-1.7, corresponding to a photon index range of , with a median photon index of . The redshifts of the 49 sources in our main sample span the range , and their rest-frame 10-40 keV luminosities (derived from the observed 8-24 keV fluxes) span the range , sampling below the "knee" of the X-ray luminosity function out to . Finally, we identify one NuSTAR source that has neither a Chandra nor an XMM-Newton counterpart, but that shows evidence of nuclear activity at infrared wavelengths and thus may represent a genuine, new X-ray source detected by NuSTAR in the ECDFS. © 2015. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


Masini A.,National institute for astrophysics | Masini A.,University of Bologna | Comastri A.,National institute for astrophysics | Balokovic M.,California Institute of Technology | And 24 more authors.
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2016

Aims. We study the connection between the masing disk and obscuring torus in Seyfert 2 galaxies. Methods. We present a uniform X-ray spectral analysis of the high energy properties of 14 nearby megamaser active galactic nuclei observed by NuSTAR. We use a simple analytical model to localize the maser disk and understand its connection with the torus by combining NuSTAR spectral parameters with the available physical quantities from VLBI mapping. Results. Most of the sources that we analyzed are heavily obscured, showing a column density in excess of ∼1023 cm-2; in particular, 79% are Compton-thick (NH > 1.5 × 1024 cm-2). When using column densities measured by NuSTAR with the assumption that the torus is the extension of the maser disk, and further assuming a reasonable density profile, we can predict the torus dimensions. They are found to be consistent with mid-IR interferometry parsec-scale observations of Circinus and NGC 1068. In this picture, the maser disk is intimately connected to the inner part of the torus. It is probably made of a large number of molecular clouds that connect the torus and the outer part of the accretion disk, giving rise to a thin disk rotating in most cases in Keplerian or sub-Keplerian motion. This toy model explains the established close connection between water megamaser emission and nuclear obscuration as a geometric effect. © ESO, 2016.

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