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A combined optical and X-ray study of unobscured type 1 active galactic nuclei - III. Broad-band SED properties

Jin, C.; Ward, M.; Done, C.

A combined optical and X-ray study of unobscured type 1 active galactic nuclei - III. Broad-band SED properties Thumbnail


C. Jin

M. Ward


In this third paper in a series of three, we present a detailed study of the broad-band spectral energy distribution (SED) of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) based on a nearby unobscured type 1 AGN sample. We perform a systematic cross-correlation study of several key parameters, i.e. Γ2-10 keV, L2-10 keV, Lbol/LEdd = λEdd, Lbol/L2-10 keV = κ2-10 keV, Graphic, FWHMHβ, MBH, αox, αX and αUV. The well-defined spectral properties of the sample enable us to improve existing relations and to identify new correlations among these parameters. We confirm a break region around FWHMHβ ≃ 4000 km s−1 in the Γ2-10 keV versus FWHMHβ correlation and log(MBH) ≃ 8.0 in the Γ2-10 keV versus MBH correlation, where these correlations appear to change form. Beyond the break point, the intrinsic Γ2-10 keV index is dispersed around 1.8. Several new correlations are also reported in this paper, e.g. strong correlations in κ5100 versus λEdd, κ5100 versus κ2-10 keV and κ2-10 keV versus MBH. The principal component analysis (PCA) is performed on the correlation matrix of the above parameters. This shows that the three physical parameters, i.e. black hole mass, mass accretion rate and Eddington ratio, drive the majority of the correlations. This is consistent with PCA results found from previous optical spectral studies. For each key parameter, we split the AGNs into three subsamples, binned based on increasing value of that parameter. We co-add the model SEDs for each object in the subsample to see how the SED changes with that parameter. Most parameters, except Lbol, show similar systematic changes in the SED such that the temperature at which the disc peaks is correlated with the ratio of power in the disc versus the Comptonized components and the hard X-ray spectral index. This underlying change in SED shape shows that AGNs do exhibit intrinsically different spectral states. This is superficially similar to the SED differences in black hole binary (BHB) seen as λEdd increases, but the analogy does not hold in detail. Only objects with the highest λEdd appear to correspond to a BHB spectral state (the disc-dominated high/soft state). The AGNs with typical mass accretion rates have spectra which do not match well with any state observed in BHB. We speculate that this could be due to the presence of a powerful ultraviolet line-driven disc wind, which complicates simple mass scaling between stellar and supermassive black holes.


Jin, C., Ward, M., & Done, C. (2012). A combined optical and X-ray study of unobscured type 1 active galactic nuclei - III. Broad-band SED properties. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 425(2), 907-929.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Sep 11, 2012
Deposit Date Apr 4, 2013
Publicly Available Date Aug 21, 2014
Journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Print ISSN 0035-8711
Electronic ISSN 1365-2966
Publisher Royal Astronomical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 425
Issue 2
Pages 907-929
Keywords Accretion, Accretion discs, Galaxies: active.


Published Journal Article (3.1 Mb)

Copyright Statement
This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society © 2012 The Authors Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

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