Spectral variability analysis of an XMM-Newton observation of Ark 564
Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Giessenbachstrasse, 85740 Garching, Germany e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Physics Department, University of Crete, PO Box 2208, 710 03 Heraklion, Greece
Accepted: 14 December 2006
Context.We present a spectral variability analysis of the X-ray emission of the Narrow Line Seyfert 1 galaxy Ark 564 using the data from a ~100 ks XMM-Newton observation.
Aims.Taking advantage of the high sensitivity of this long observation and the simple spectral shape of Ark 564, we determine accurately the spectral variability patterns in the source.
Methods. We use standard cross-correlation methods to investigate the correlations between the soft and hard energy band light curves. We also generated 200 energy spectra from data stretches of 500 s duration each and fitted each one of them with a power law plus a bremsstrahlung component (for the soft excess) and we investigated the correlations between the various best fit model parameter values.
Results. The “power law plus bremsstrahlung” model describes the spectrum well at all times. The iron line and the absorption features, which are found in the time-averaged spectrum of the source are too weak to effect the results of the time resolved spectral fits. We find that the power law and the soft excess flux are variable, on all measured time scales. The power law slope is also variable, and leads the flux variations of both the power law and the bremsstrahlung components.
Conclusions.Our results can be explained in the framework of time-dependent Comptonization models. They are consistent with a picture where instabilities propagate through an extended X-ray source, affecting first the soft and then the hard photons producing regions. The soft excess could correspond to ionized disc reflection emission, in which case it responds fast to the primary continuum variations. The time scales are such that light travel times might additionally influence the observed variability structure.
Key words: galaxies: active / galaxies: seyfert / galaxies: individual: Ark 564 / X-rays: galaxies
© ESO, 2007