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The nature of the torus in the heavily obscured AGN Markarian 3: an X-ray study

Guainazzi, M. and Risaliti, G. and Awaki, H. and Arévalo, P. and Bauer, F. E. and Bianchi, S. and Boggs, S. E. and Brandt, W. N. and Brightman, M. and Christensen, F. E. and Craig, W. W. and Forster, K. and Hailey, C. J. and Harrison, F. A. and Koss, M. and Longinotti, A. and Markwardt, C. and Marinucci, A. and Matt, G. and Reynolds, C. S. and Ricci, C. and Stern, D. and Svoboda, J. and Walton, D. J. and Zhang, W. (2016) The nature of the torus in the heavily obscured AGN Markarian 3: an X-ray study. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 460 (2). pp. 1954-1969. ISSN 0035-8711.

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In this paper we report the results of an X-ray monitoring campaign on the heavily obscured Seyfert galaxy Markarian 3 carried out between the fall of 2014 and the spring of 2015 with NuSTAR, Suzaku and XMM-Newton. The hard X-ray spectrum of Markarian 3 is variable on all the time scales probed by our campaign, down to a few days. The observed continuum variability is due to an intrinsically variable primary continuum seen in transmission through a large, but still Compton-thin column density (N_H~0.8-1.1$\times$10$^{24}$ cm$^{-2}$). If arranged in a spherical-toroidal geometry, the Compton scattering matter has an opening angle ~66 degrees and is seen at a grazing angle through its upper rim (inclination angle ~70 degrees). We report a possible occultation event during the 2014 campaign. If the torus is constituted by a system of clouds sharing the same column density, this event allows us to constrain their number (17$\pm$5) and individual column density, [~(4.9$\pm$1.5)$\times$10$^{22}$ cm$^{-2}$]. The comparison of IR and X-ray spectroscopic results with state-of-the art "torus" models suggests that at least two thirds of the X-ray obscuring gas volume might be located within the dust sublimation radius. We report also the discovery of an ionized absorber, characterised by variable resonant absorption lines due to He- and H-like iron. This discovery lends support to the idea that moderate column density absorbers could be due to clouds evaporated at the outer surface of the torus, possibly accelerated by the radiation pressure due to the central AGN emission leaking through the patchy absorber.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Bauer, F. E.0000-0002-8686-8737
Bianchi, S.0000-0002-4622-4240
Boggs, S. E.0000-0001-9567-4224
Brandt, W. N.0000-0002-0167-2453
Brightman, M.0000-0002-8147-2602
Christensen, F. E.0000-0001-5679-1946
Forster, K.0000-0001-5800-5531
Harrison, F. A.0000-0003-2992-8024
Koss, M.0000-0002-7998-9581
Markwardt, C.0000-0001-9803-3879
Matt, G.0000-0002-2152-0916
Ricci, C.0000-0001-5231-2645
Stern, D.0000-0003-2686-9241
Walton, D. J.0000-0001-5819-3552
Zhang, W.0000-0002-1426-9698
Additional Information:© 2016 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. Accepted 2016 April 28. Received 2016 April 28. In original form 2016 March 7. First published online May 10, 2016. This work made use of data from the NuSTAR mission, a project led by the California Institute of Technology, managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. We thank the NuSTAR Operations, Software and Calibration teams for support with the execution and analysis of these observations. This research has made use of the NuSTAR Data Analysis Software (NUSTARDAS) jointly developed by the ASI Science Data Center (ASDC, Italy) and the California Institute of Technology (USA). JS acknowledges support from the grant LH14049 and the Project 14-20970P of the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic. FEB acknowledges support from CONICYT-Chile (Basal-CATA PFB-06/2007, FONDECYT Regular 1141218, ‘EMBIGGEN’ Anillo ACT1101), and the Ministry of Economy, Development, and Tourism's Millennium Science Initiative through grant IC120009, awarded to The Millennium Institute of Astrophysics, MAS. The authors are grateful to an anonymous referee, whose accurate and detailed report greatly improved the clarity of the paper.
Group:Space Radiation Laboratory, NuSTAR
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Grantová agentura České republikyLH14049
Grantová agentura České republiky14-20970P
Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (CONICYT)Basal-CATA PFB-06/2007
Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Científico y Tecnológico (FONDECYT)1141218
Fondo Nacional de Desarrollo Científico y Tecnológico (FONDECYT)Anillo ACT1101
Iniciativa Científica Milenio del Ministerio de Economía, Fomento y TurismoIC120009
Non-Subject Keywords:galaxies: active – galaxies: Seyfert – X-rays: galaxies – X-rays: individual: Markarian 3
Other Numbering System:
Other Numbering System NameOther Numbering System ID
Space Radiation Laboratory2016-39
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20160804-092209395
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:M. Guainazzi, G. Risaliti, H. Awaki, P. Arevalo, F. E. Bauer, S. Bianchi, S. E. Boggs, W. N. Brandt, M. Brightman, F. E. Christensen, W. W. Craig, K. Forster, C. J. Hailey, F. Harrison, M. Koss, A. Longinotti, C. Markwardt, A. Marinucci, G. Matt, C. S. Reynolds, C. Ricci, D. Stern, J. Svoboda, D. Walton, and W. Zhang The nature of the torus in the heavily obscured AGN Markarian 3: an X-ray study MNRAS (August 01, 2016) Vol. 460 1954-1969 doi:10.1093/mnras/stw1033 first published online May 10, 2016
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:69434
Deposited By: Deborah Miles
Deposited On:04 Aug 2016 21:21
Last Modified:09 Mar 2020 13:18

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