Volume 374, Number 1, July IV 2001
|Page(s)||73 - 82|
|Section||Cosmology (including clusters of galaxies)|
|Published online||15 July 2001|
Excess hard X-ray emission from the obscured low luminosity AGN in the nearby galaxy M 51 (NGC 5194)
Department of Physical Sciences, Graduate School of Science, Hiroshima University, 1-3-1 Kagamiyama, Higashi-Hiroshima, Hiroshima 739-8526, Japan
2 Department of Physics, Graduate School of Science, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan
3 Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, 3-1-1 Yoshinodai, Sagamihara, Kanagawa 229-8510, Japan
Corresponding author: Y. Fukazawa, email@example.com
Accepted: 27 April 2001
We observed the nearby galaxy M 51 (NGC 5194) with BeppoSAX. The X-ray properties of the nucleus below 10 keV are almost the same as the ASCA results regarding the hard component and the neutral Fe Kα line, but the intensity is about half of the ASCA 1993 data. Beyond this, in the BeppoSAX PDS data, we detected a bright hard X-ray emission component which dominates above 10 keV. The 10-100 keV flux and luminosity of this component are respectively erg s-1 cm-2 and erg s-1. These are about 10 times higher than the extrapolation from the soft X-ray band, and similar to the flux observed with Ginga, which found a bright power law component in 2-20 keV band. Considering other wavelength properties and the X-ray luminosity, together with strong neutral Fe K line, the hard X-ray emission most likely arises from a low luminosity active nucleus, which is obscured with a column density of ~1024 cm-2. This suggests that hidden low luminosity AGNs may well be present in other nearby galaxies. We interpret the discrepancy between Ginga and other X-ray satellites to be due to a large variability of absorption column density toward the line of sight over several years, suggesting that the Compton thick absorption material may be present on a spatial scale of a parsec. Apart from the nucleus, several ultra-luminous off-nuclear X-ray sources detected in M 51 exhibit long-term time variability, suggesting the state transition similar to that observed in Galactic black hole candidates.
Key words: galaxies: active / galaxies: nuclei / galaxies: individual: M 51
© ESO, 2001
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