Volume 611, March 2018
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Published online||02 April 2018|
Testing a double AGN hypothesis for Mrk 273
Institut de Ciències del Cosmos (ICCUB),
Universitat de Barcelona (IEEC-UB),
Martí i Franquès,
08028 Barcelona, Spain
2 ICREA, Pg. Lluís Companys 23, 08010 Barcelona, Spain
3 Department of Physics and Astronomy, 900 University Avenue, University of California, Riverside, CA 92521, USA
4 Department of Physics and Astronomy, 4129 Frederick Reines Hall, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA
5 IPAC, MS 100-22, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
6 Cahill Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics, California Institute of Technology, MS 249-17, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA
7 Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 2611, Australia
8 Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
9 Department of Astronomy, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903-2325, USA
10 National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 520 Edgemont Road, Charlottesville, VA 22903-2475, USA
Accepted: 4 November 2017
The ultra-luminous infrared galaxy (ULIRG) Mrk 273 contains two infrared nuclei, N and SW, separated by 1 arcsecond. A Chandra observation has identified the SW nucleus as an absorbed X-ray source with NH ~ 4 × 1023 cm−2 but also hinted at the possible presence of a Compton-thick AGN in the N nucleus, where a black hole of ~109 M⊙ is inferred from the ionized gas kinematics. The intrinsic X-ray spectral slope recently measured by NuSTAR is unusually hard (Γ ~ 1.3) for a Seyfert nucleus, for which we seek an alternative explanation. We hypothesize a strongly absorbed X-ray source in N, of which X-ray emission rises steeply above 10 keV, in addition to the known X-ray source in SW, and test it against the NuSTAR data, assuming the standard spectral slope (Γ = 1.9). This double X-ray source model gives a good explanation of the hard continuum spectrum, deep Fe K absorption edge, and strong Fe K line observed in this ULIRG, without invoking the unusual spectral slope required for a single source interpretation. The putative X-ray source in N is found to be absorbed by NH = 1.4+0.7−0.4 × 1024 cm−2. The estimated 2−10 keV luminosity of the N source is 1.3 × 1043 erg s−1, about a factor of 2 larger than that of SW during the NuSTAR observation. Uncorrelated variability above and below 10 keV between the Suzaku and NuSTAR observations appears to support the double source interpretation. Variability in spectral hardness and Fe K line flux between the previous X-ray observations is also consistent with this picture.
Key words: galaxies: nuclei / X-rays: galaxies
© ESO 2018
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