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A deep X-ray view of the bare AGN Ark 120. I. Revealing the Soft X-ray Line Emission

  • Reeves, James
  • Porquet, Delphine
  • Braito, Valentina
  • Nardini, Emanuele
  • Lobban, Andrew
  • Turner, Jane
Publication Date
Jul 04, 2016
Submission Date
Jul 04, 2016
arXiv ID: 1607.01062
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The Seyfert 1 galaxy, Ark 120, is a prototype example of the so-called class of bare nucleus AGN, whereby there is no known evidence for the presence of ionized gas along the direct line of sight. Here deep ($>400$ ks exposure), high resolution X-ray spectroscopy of Ark 120 is presented, from XMM-Newton observations which were carried out in March 2014, together with simultaneous Chandra/HETG exposures. The high resolution spectra confirmed the lack of intrinsic absorbing gas associated with Ark 120, with the only X-ray absorption present originating from the ISM of our own Galaxy, with a possible slight enhancement of the Oxygen abundance required with respect to the expected ISM values in the Solar neighbourhood. However, the presence of several soft X-ray emission lines are revealed for the first time in the XMM-Newton RGS spectrum, associated to the AGN and arising from the He and H-like ions of N, O, Ne and Mg. The He-like line profiles of N, O and Ne appear velocity broadened, with typical FWHM widths of $\sim5000$ km s$^{-1}$, whereas the H-like profiles are unresolved. From the clean measurement of the He-like triplets, we deduce that the broad lines arise from gas of density $n_{\rm e}\sim10^{11}$ cm$^{-3}$, while the photoionization calculations infer that the emitting gas covers at least 10 percent of $4\pi$ steradian. Thus the broad soft X-ray profiles appear coincident with an X-ray component of the optical-UV Broad Line Region on sub-pc scales, whereas the narrow profiles originate on larger pc scales, perhaps coincident with the AGN Narrow Line Region. The observations show that Ark 120 is not intrinsically bare and substantial X-ray emitting gas exists out of our direct line of sight towards this AGN.

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