Volume 527, March 2011
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Published online||09 February 2011|
Broad iron emission lines in Seyfert galaxies – re-condensation of gas onto an inner disk below the ADAF?
Max-Planck-Institut für Astrophysik,
Karl- Schwarzschild-Str. 1,
Received: 27 July 2010
Accepted: 5 December 2010
Context. The number of strong iron Kα line detections in Seyfert AGN is clearly growing in the Chandra, XMM-Newton and Suzaku era. The iron emission lines are broad, some are relativistically blurred. These relativistic disk lines have also been observed for galactic black hole X-ray binaries. Thermal components found in hard spectra were interpreted as an indication for a weak inner cool accretion disk underneath a hot corona.
Aims. Accretion in low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXB) occurs during phases of high and low mass accretion rate, outburst and quiescence, soft and hard spectral state, respectively. After the soft/hard transition for some sources a thermal component is found, which can be interpreted as sustained by re-condensation of gas from an advection-dominated flow (ADAF) onto the disk. In view of the similarity of accretion flows around stellar mass and supermassive black holes we discuss whether the broad iron emission lines in Seyfert 1 AGN (active galactic nuclei) can be understood as arising from a similar accretion flow geometry as in X-ray binaries.
Methods. We derive accretion rates for those Seyfert galaxies for which broad iron emission lines were observed, the “best candidates” in the investigations of Miller (2007, ARA&A, 45, 441) and Nandra et al. (2007, MNRAS, 382, 194). For the evaluation of the Eddington-scaled rates we use the observed X-ray luminosity, bolometric corrections and black hole masses from the literature.
Results. The accretion rates derived for the Seyfert galaxies in our sample are less than 0.1 of the Eddington rate for more than half of the sources. For 107 to 108M⊙ black holes in Seyfert 1 AGN this limit corresponds to 0.01 to 0.2 M⊙/yr. This documents that the sources probably are in a hard spectral state and iron emission lines can arise from an inner weak accretion disk surrounded by an ADAF as predicted by the re-condensation model. Some of the remaining sources with higher accretion rates may be in a spectral state that is comparable to the “very high” state of LMXBs.
Conclusions. Our investigation shows that in quite a number of Seyfert AGN the broad iron emission lines may indeed originate in a weak inner disk below the ADAF, close to the black hole, indicating the same accretion flow geometry as recently found for LMXBs. For the accretion history one then concludes that the accretion rates were higher in the outer radii at some earlier time.
Key words: accretion, accretion disks / X-rays: galaxies / black hole physics / galaxies: Seyfert / galaxies: individual: MCG-6-30-15 / galaxies: individual: 1H 0707-495
© ESO, 2011
Current usage metrics show cumulative count of Article Views (full-text article views including HTML views, PDF and ePub downloads, according to the available data) and Abstracts Views on Vision4Press platform.
Data correspond to usage on the plateform after 2015. The current usage metrics is available 48-96 hours after online publication and is updated daily on week days.
Initial download of the metrics may take a while.