EDP Sciences
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Volume 370, Number 1, April IV 2001
Page(s) 70 - 77
Section Extragalactic astronomy
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20010132

A&A 370, 70-77 (2001)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20010132

On the origin of the FeK$\alpha$ line in the Seyfert 2 galaxy NGC 7172

M. Dadina1, 2, 3, L. Bassani3, M. Cappi3, G. G. C. Palumbo4, L. Piro2, M. Guainazzi5, G. Malaguti3, G. Di Cocco3 and M. Trifoglio3

1  BeppoSAX SOC, Telespazio, via Corcolle 19, 00131 Roma, Italy
2  Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale, CNR, via Fosso del Cavaliere, 00133 Roma, Italy
3  Istituto Te.S.R.E, CNR, via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
4  Università degli Studi di Bologna, Dip. di Astronomia, Via Ranzani 1, 40127 Bologna, Italy
5  XMM-Newton SOC, VILSPA -ESA, Apartado 50727, 28080 Madrid, Spain

(Received 5 April 2000 / Accepted 9 January 2001)

The Seyfert 2 Galaxy NGC 7172 was observed twice by BeppoSAX narrow field instruments approximately one year apart. As found in previous observations, the source is variable on short time scales (hours) by a factor of ~30%, confirming the presence of a type 1 nucleus at the center. A strong flux variability (by a factor of 2) on a longer time scale was observed between the two observations. Indeed, in November 1997, the lowest flux ever recorded was detected by BeppoSAX. The broad band spectra obtained with the BeppoSAX narrow field instruments show marginal evidence of a reflection component. This structure could explain the very flat spectra previously observed in the 2-10 keV band. An FeK$\alpha$ line was also detected in both observations. The line intensity appears to remain almost constant between the two observations even if the associated large errors cannot exclude some variability. In order to understand the problem of the origin of the line, data from previous observations, performed with other satellites, were also used. The scenario favored is one where the line is produced at a distance of approximatively 8 light years from the continuum source region, rather than having its origin in the accretion disk. In the framework of the standard unified models for AGN, this suggests that its origin is located in the molecular torus.

Key words: X-rays: galaxies -- galaxies: Seyfert -- galaxies: individual: NGC 7172

Offprint request: M. Dadina, dadina@tesre.bo.cnr.it

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