The complex optical to soft x-ray spectrum of the low-redshift radio-quiet quasars

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The complex optical to soft x-ray spectrum of the low-redshift radio-quiet quasars

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Title: The complex optical to soft x-ray spectrum of the low-redshift radio-quiet quasars
Author: Fiore, Fabrizio; Elvis, Martin S.; McDowell, Jonathan Christopher; Siemiginowska, Aneta L.; Wilkes, Belinda Jane

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Citation: Fiore, Fabrizio, Martin Elvis, Jonathan C. McDowell, Aneta Siemiginowska, and Belinda J. Wilkes. 1994. “The Complex Optical to Soft x-Ray Spectrum of the Low-Redshift Radio-Quiet Quasars.” The Astrophysical Journal 431 (August): 515. doi:10.1086/174504.
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Abstract: Eight high signal-to-noise ROSAT Position Sensitive Proportional Counter (PSPC) observations of six low-redshift (o.048 less than z less than 0.155) radio-quiet quasars have been analyzed to study ant soft excess. All the spectra can, at least roughly, be described int eh 0.1-2.5 keV band by simple power laws reduced at low energies by Galactic absorption. The strong oxygen edges seen in the PSPC spectra of several Seyfert galaxies and quasars are not observed in this sample. The limits implied for the abount of absorbing gas intrinsic to the quasars are particularly tight: of the order of approximately 1020/sq cm. THe range of energy indices is broad: 1.3 less than alphaE less than 2.3. The energy indices are systematically steeper than those found in the same sources at higher energies (by DELTA alphaE approximately 0.5-1 with respect to Ginga or EXOSAT (2-10 keV) measurements, and by DELTA alphaE approximately 0.5 with respect to IPC (0.2-3.5 keV) measurements). This suggests a break between the hard and soft components in the keV region and, therefore, that the PSPC spectra are strongly dominated by the soft compnents. In fact, a fit tot he composite, high signal-to-noise spectrum reveals a significant excess above approximately 1 keV withrespect to the simple power-law model. No evidence for strong emission lines is found in any of the quasars. This argues against emission from an ionized plasma as the main contributor to the soft X-ray compnentunless there is a distribution of te mperatures. If the soft X-ray spectrum of thee quasars is dominated by radiation reflected by the photoinonized surface of an accretion disk, the absence of strong emissionlines suggests high ionization parameters and therefore high accretion rates. We include in two Appendices a comarison of the two official PSPC resolution matrices, those released on1992 March and on 1993 January, a discussion of the amplitude of the residual systematic uncertainties in 1993 January matrix, and a compaison between the PSPC and IPC spectra of a sample of sources.
Published Version: doi:10.1086/174504
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