Volume 643, November 2020
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Section||Letters to the Editor|
|Published online||28 October 2020|
Letter to the Editor
Lifting the curtain: The Seyfert galaxy Mrk 335 emerges from deep low-state in a sequence of rapid flare events
Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
2 Dept. of Physics, Earth Science, and Space System Engineering, Morehead State University, 235 Martindale Dr, Morehead, KY 40351, USA
3 Department of Astronomy and Physics, Saint Mary’s University, 923 Robie Street, Halifax, NS B3H 3C3, Canada
4 MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA
5 Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 S. Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
6 Instituto Nacional de Astrofísica, Óptica y Electrónica INAOE- CONACyT, Luis E. Erro 1, Tonantzintla, 72840 Puebla, Mexico
7 European Space Agency (ESA), European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC), 28691 Villanueva de la Canada, Madrid, Spain
8 Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology, Stanford University, 452 Lomita Mall, Stanford, CA 94305, USA
Accepted: 28 September 2020
Context. The narrow-line Seyfert 1 galaxy Mrk 335 was one of the X-ray brightest active galactic nuclei, but it has systematically faded since 2007.
Aims. We report the discovery with Swift of a sequence of bright and rapid X-ray flare events that reveal the emergence of Mrk 335 from its ultra-deep multiyear low state.
Methods. Results are based on our dedicated multiyear monitoring of Mrk 335 with Swift.
Results. Unlike other bright active galactic nuclei, the optical–UV is generally not correlated with the X-rays in Mrk 335 on a timescale of days to months. This fact either implies the absence of a direct link between the two emission components; or else implies that the observed X-rays are significantly affected by (dust-free) absorption along our line of sight. The UV and optical, however, are closely correlated at the 99.99% confidence level. The UV is leading the optical by Δt = 1.5 ± 1.5 d. The Swift X-ray spectrum shows strong deviations from a single power law in all brightness states of the outbursts, indicating that significant absorption or reprocessing is taking place. Mrk 335 displays a softer-when-brighter variability pattern at intermediate X-ray count rates, which has been seen in our Swift data since 2007 (based on a total of 590 observations). This pattern breaks down at the highest and lowest count rates.
Conclusions. We interpret the 2020 brightening of Mrk 335 as a decrease in column density and covering factor of a partial-covering absorber along our line of sight in the form of a clumpy accretion-disk wind that reveals an increasing portion of the intrinsic emission of Mrk 335 from the disk and/or corona region, while the optical emission-line regions receive a less variable spectral energy distribution. This then also explains why Mrk 335 was never seen to change its optical Seyfert type (not “changing look”) despite its factor ∼50 X-ray variability with Swift.
Key words: galaxies: active / galaxies: nuclei / galaxies: individual: Mrk 335 / X-rays: galaxies / galaxies: Seyfert / quasars: supermassive black holes
© S. Komossa et al. 2020
Open Access article, published by EDP Sciences, under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Open Access funding provided by Max Planck Society.
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