EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 394, Number 2, November I 2002
Page(s) 435 - 442
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20021161

A&A 394, 435-442 (2002)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20021161

Unabsorbed Seyfert 2 galaxies

F. Panessa1, 2 and L. Bassani1

1  IASF/CNR, via Piero Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
2  Dipartimento di Astronomia, Universita' di Bologna, via Ranzani 1, 40127 Bologna, Italy

(Received 26 March 2002 / Accepted 5 August 2002)

We present a sample of 17 type 2 Seyfert galaxies which have an X-ray column density lower than 10 22 cm -2. The Compton thin nature of these sources is strongly suggested by isotropic indicators. We estimate the fraction of these sources to be in the range of 10%-30% of the population of type 2 Seyfert galaxies. Furthermore, this fraction appears to increase progressively at lower luminosities. The simple formulation of the Unified Model for Seyfert galaxies is not applicable in such sources since the pc-scale molecular torus is not likely to be responsible for the low column density observed; instead the absorption observed is likely to originate at larger scales. According to this hypothesis, in these objects the broad line regions are covered by some dusty obscuring material. In particular, this could occur in objects with dust lanes, patches or HII regions. However, we cannot rule out that in the lowest luminosity sources the BLR is weak, absent or has faded away. This last scenario is consistent with the predictions of some recent theoretical models for low luminosity AGNs.

Key words: X-rays: galaxies -- galaxies: Seyfert

Offprint request: F. Panessa, panessa@bo.iasf.cnr.it

© ESO 2002