The X-ray spectral properties of the AGN population in the XMM-Newton bright serendipitous survey⋆
INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, via Brera 28, 20121 Milan, Italy
2 Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, 85478 Garching, Germany
3 Instituto de Física de Cantabria (CSIC-UC), 39005 Santander, Spain
4 Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London, Holmbury St Mary, Surrey RH5 6NT, UK
5 Astrophysikalisches Institut Potsdam, An der Sternwarte 16, 14482 Potsdam, Germany
Received: 17 June 2010
Accepted: 9 March 2011
Context. X-ray surveys are a key instrument in the study of active galactic nuclei (AGN). Thanks to their penetrating ability, X-rays are able to map the innermost regions close to the central super massive black hole (SMBH) as well as to detect and characterize its emission up to high redshift.
Aims. We present here a detailed X-ray spectral analysis of the AGN belonging to the XMM-Newton bright survey (XBS). The XBS is composed of two flux-limited samples selected in the complementary 0.5−4.5 and 4.5−7.5 keV energy bands and comprising more than 300 AGN up to redshift ~2.4.
Methods. We performed an X-ray analysis following two different approaches: by analyzing individually each AGN X-ray spectrum and by constructing average spectra for different AGN types.
Results. From the individual analysis, we find that there seems to be an anti correlation between the spectral index and the sources’ hard X-ray luminosity, such that the average photon index for the higher luminosity sources (>1044 erg s-1) is significantly (>2σ) flatter than the average for the lower luminosity sources. We also find that the intrinsic column density distribution agrees with AGN unified schemes, although a number of exceptions are found (3% of the whole sample), which are much more common among optically classified type 2 AGN. We also find that the so-called “soft-excess”, apart from the intrinsic absorption, constitutes the principal deviation from a power-law shape in AGN X-ray spectra and it clearly displays different characteristics, and likely a different origin, for unabsorbed and absorbed AGN. Regarding the shape of the average spectra, we find that it is best reproduced by a combination of an unabsorbed (absorbed) power law, a narrow Fe Kα emission line and a small (large) amount of reflection for unabsorbed (absorbed) sources. We do not significantly detect any relativistic contribution to the line emission and we compute an upper limit for its equivalent width (EW) of 230 eV at the 3σ confidence level. Finally, by dividing the type 1 AGN sample into high- and low-luminosity sources, we marginally detect a decrease in the narrow Fe Kα line EW and in the amount of reflection as the luminosity increases, the “so-called” Iwasawa-Taniguchi effect.
Key words: X-rays: general / X-rays: diffuse background / surveys / galaxies: active
© ESO, 2011