Volume 630, October 2019
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Published online||04 October 2019|
Relations between phenomenological and physical parameters in the hot coronae of AGNs computed with the MoCA code
Dipartimento di Matematica e Fisica, Università degli Studi Roma Tre, Via della Vasca Navale 84, 00146 Roma, Italy
2 ASI – Unità di Ricerca Scientifica, Via del Politecnico snc, 00133 Roma, Italy
3 Univ. Grenoble Alpes, CNRS, IPAG, 38000 Grenoble, France
4 Nicolaus Copernicus Astronomical Center of the Polish Academy of Sciences, ul. Bartycka 18, 00716 Warsaw, Poland
5 INAF/Istituto di Astrofisica e Planetologia Spaziali, Via Fosso del Cavaliere, 00133 Roma, Italy
Accepted: 8 August 2019
Context. The primary X-ray emission in active galactic nuclei (AGNs) is widely believed to be due to Comptonisation of the thermal radiation from the accretion disc in a corona of hot electrons. The resulting spectra can, in first approximation, be modelled with a cut-off power law, the photon index and the high-energy roll-over encoding information on the physical properties of the X ray emitting region. The photon index and the high-energy curvature of AGNs (Γ, Ec) have been largely studied since the launch of X-ray satellites operating above 10 keV. However, high-precision measurements of these two observables have only been obtained in recent years thanks to the unprecedented sensitivity of NuSTAR up to 79 keV.
Aims. We aim at deriving relations between Γ, Ec phenomenological parameters and the intrinsic properties of the X-ray-emitting region (the hot corona), namely the optical depth and temperature.
Methods. We use MoCA (Monte Carlo code for Comptonisation in Astrophysics) to produce synthetic spectra for the case of an AGN with MBH = 1.5 × 108 M⊙ and ṁ = 0.1 and then compared them with the widely used power-law model with an exponential high-energy cutoff.
Results. We provide phenomenological relations relating Γ and Ec with the opacity and temperature of the coronal electrons for the case of spherical and slab-like coronae. These relations give origin to a well defined parameter space which fully contains the observed values. Exploiting the increasing number of high-energy cut-offs quoted in the literature, we report on the comparison of physical quantities obtained using MoCA with those estimated using commonly adopted spectral Comptonisation models. Finally, we discuss the negligible impact of different black hole masses and accretion rates on the inferred relations.
Key words: galaxies: active / quasars: general / X-rays: galaxies
© ESO 2019
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