NuSTAR reveals that the heavily obscured nucleus of NGC 2785 was the contaminant of IRAS 09104+4109 in the BeppoSAX/PDS hard X-rays
1 Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Alma Mater Studiorum, Università degli Studi di Bologna, Via Gobetti 93/2, 40129 Bologna, Italy
2 INAF – Osservatorio di Astrofisica e Scienza dello Spazio di Bologna, Via Gobetti 93/3, 40129 Bologna, Italy
3 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Brera, Via Brera 28, 20121 Milano, Italy
4 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma, Via Frascati 33, 00040 Monteporzio Catone, Roma, Italy
5 XMM-Newton Science Operations Centre, ESAC/ESA, PO Box 78, 28691 Villanueva de la Canãda, Madrid, Spain
6 Institut de Ciències del Cosmos (ICCUB), Universitat de Barcelona (IEEC-UB), Martí Franquès, 1, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
7 ICREA, Pg. Lluís Companys 23, 08010 Barcelona, Spain
8 INAF – Istituto di Astrofisica Spaziale e Fisica Cosmica di Palermo, Via Ugo La Malfa 153, 90146 Palermo, Italy
Accepted: 6 August 2018
Context. The search for heavily obscured active galactic nuclei has been revitalized in the last five years by NuSTAR, which has provided a good census and spectral characterization of a population of such objects, mostly at low redshift, thanks to its enhanced sensitivity above 10 keV compared to previous X-ray facilities, and its hard X-ray imaging capabilities.
Aims. We aim at demonstrating how NGC 2785, a local (z = 0.009) star-forming galaxy, is responsible, in virtue of its heavily obscured active nucleus, for significant contamination in the non-imaging BeppoSAX/PDS data of the relatively nearby (≈17′) quasar IRAS 09104+4109 (z = 0.44), which was originally mis-classified as Compton thick.
Methods. We analyzed ≈71 ks NuSTAR data of NGC 2785 using the MYTorus model and provided a physical description of the X-ray properties of the source for the first time.
Results. We found that NGC 2785 hosts a heavily obscured (NH ≈ 3 × 1024 cm−2) nucleus. The intrinsic X-ray luminosity of the source, once corrected for the measured obscuration (L2−10keV ≈ 1042 erg s−1), is consistent within a factor of a few with predictions based on the source mid-infrared flux using widely adopted correlations from the literature.
Conclusions. Based on NuSTAR data and previous indications from the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory (BAT instrument), we confirm that NGC 2785, because of its hard X-ray emission and spectral shape, was responsible for at least one third of the 20–100 keV emission observed using the PDS instrument onboard BeppoSAX, originally completely associated with IRAS 09104+4109. Such emission led to the erroneous classification of this source as a Compton-thick quasar, while it is now recognized as Compton thin.
Key words: galaxies: active / X-rays: galaxies / X-rays: individuals: NGC 2785
© ESO 2018