XMM-Newton observations of the dwarf elliptical galaxy NGC 3226
Research and Scientific Support Department, European Space Agency - Postbus 299, 2200 AG Noordwijk, The Netherlands
Accepted: 22 March 2004
We report on an XMM-Newton observation of the dwarf elliptical galaxy NGC 3226 performed in November 2000. The analysis of the 0.4–10 keV spectrum of its nucleus is consistent with a power law continuum ( 1.96) absorbed at low energies by neutral gas (with a hydrogen column density – cm-2 and a covering fraction greater than 85%) and by weakly ionized gas (– cm-2 with –7 erg s-1 cm). However, the study indicates that a bremstrahlung model absorbed by neutral material is a better description reminiscent of the X-ray emission from advection-dominated accretion flows (ADAFs). The temperature of the best fit bremstrahlung model ( K) and the absence of short and mid time-scale variability suggests that the X-ray emission originates from regions relatively far from the nucleus as in convection-dominated accretion flows (CDAFs) or in the so-called “wind” models. By comparing the 2–10 keV luminosity of the central object ( erg s-1 after correction from Galactic and intrinsic absorption) with radio flux measurements, we find a mass in the range (1.7– for the accreting black hole, a value comparable with an independent estimate from the dispersion of radial velocities. We argue that the dwarf elliptical galaxy NGC 3226 may harbor a sub-Eddington, super-massive black hole in a radiative inefficient state which is distinct from the near-Eddington, thermally dominated black holes presumably found in quasars and luminous Seyfert galaxies.
Key words: X-rays: individual: NGC 3226 / galaxies: nuclei / galaxies: elliptical and lenticular, cD / X-rays: galaxies
© ESO, 2004