A chandra survey of the X-RAY properties of broad absorption line radio-loud quasars

B. P. Miller, W. N. Brandt, R. R. Gibson, G. P. Garmire, O. Shemmer

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21 Scopus citations


This work presents the results of a Chandra study of 21 broad absorption line (BAL) radio-loud quasars (RLQs). We conducted a Chandra snapshot survey of 12 bright BAL RLQs selected from Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data/Faint Images of the Radio Sky data and possessing a wide range of radio and C IV absorption properties. Optical spectra were obtained nearly contemporaneously with the Hobby-Eberly Telescope; no strong flux or BAL variability was seen between epochs. In addition to the snapshot targets, we include in our sample nine additional BAL RLQs possessing archival Chandra coverage. We compare the properties of (predominantly high-ionization) BAL RLQs to those of non-BAL RLQs as well as to BAL radio-quiet quasars (RQQs) and non-BAL RQQs for context. All 12 snapshots and 8/9 archival BAL RLQs are detected, with observed X-ray luminosities less than those of non-BAL RLQs having comparable optical/UV luminosities by typical factors of 4.1-8.5. (BAL RLQs are also X-ray weak by typical factors of 2.0-4.5 relative to non-BAL RLQs having both comparable optical/UV and radio luminosities.) However, BAL RLQs are not as X-ray weak relative to non-BAL RLQs as are BAL RQQs relative to non-BAL RQQs. While some BAL RLQs have harder X-ray spectra than typical non-BAL RLQs, some have hardness ratios consistent with those of non-BAL RLQs, and there does not appear to be a correlation between X-ray weakness and spectral hardness, in contrast to the situation for BAL RQQs. RLQs are expected to have X-ray continuum contributions from both accretion-disk corona and small-scale jet emission. While the entire X-ray continuum in BAL RLQs cannot be obscured to the same degree as in BAL RQQs, we calculate that the jet is likely partially covered in many BAL RLQs. We comment briefly on implications for geometries and source ages in BAL RLQs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)911-928
Number of pages18
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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