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The Kiloparsec-scale Fe Ka Emission in the Compton-thin Seyfert 2 Galaxy NGC 4388 Resolved by Chandra

X. W. Shu, C. Pappalardo, C. Wang, T. T. Yuan

We present imaging and spectral analysis of the combined ~48 ks Chandra observations of Seyfert 2 galaxy NGC 4388. Compared with previous studies, three prominent extended X-ray structures around the nucleus on a kiloparsec-scale are well imaged, allowing an in-depth spatially resolved study. Both the extended hard continuum (4–6 keV) and the Fe Kα line (6.2–6.7 keV) show similar morphology, consistent with a scenario where the ionizing emission from the nucleus is reprocessed by circumnuclear cold gas, resulting in a weak reflection continuum and an associated neutral Fe Kα line. This has been seen in other Compton-thick active galactic nuclei (AGN), but NGC 4388 is one of the rare cases with a lower column density (NH < 1.25 × 1024 cm−2) along the line of sight. Significant differences in equivalent width of the Fe Kα emission line (up to a factor of 3) are found for the nuclear and extended regions. Such a difference could be ascribed to different column densities or scattering angles with respect to the line of sight, rather than variations in iron abundances. The northeast and west extended structures appear to be aligned with the larger-scale galactic disk and dust lane in the HST VH color map, and are located at the peak of molecular gas distribution. The morphology of remaining extended features likely traces edges of a known radio jet, indicating that the outflow at the kiloparsec-scale may have compressed the interstellar gas and produced clumps working as the reflector to enhance line emission. In addition, using [O IV] emission as a proxy of the AGN intrinsic luminosity, we find that both of the extended Fe Kα emission and reflection continuum are linearly correlated with the [O IV] luminosity, which indicates a connection between the central AGN and the extended emission.

AGN host galaxies; X-ray active galactic nuclei; 2017; 2035; Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies; Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena

The Astrophysical Journal
Volume 908, Number 2, Page 11
2021 February

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Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia