An intense soft excess and evidence for light bending in the luminous narrow-line quasar PHL 1092

L. C. Gallo, Th Boller, W. N. Brandt, A. C. Fabian, D. Grupe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


The narrow-line quasar PHL1092 was observed by XMM-Newton at two epochs separated by nearly 30 months. Timing analyses confirm the extreme variability observed during previous X-ray missions. A measurement of the radiative efficiency is in excess of what is expected from a Schwarzschild black hole. In addition to the rapid X-ray variability, the short ultraviolet (UV) light curves (<4 h) obtained with the Optical Monitor (OM) may also show fluctuations, albeit at much lower amplitude than the X-rays. In general, the extreme variability is impressive considering that the broad-band (0.4-10 keV rest frame) luminosity of the source is ∼1045 erg s -1. During at least one of the observations, the X-ray and UV light curves show common trends, although given the short duration of the OM observations, and low significance of the UV light curves, it is difficult to comment on the importance of this possible correlation. Interestingly, the high-energy photons (>2 keV) do not appear highly variable. The X-ray spectrum resembles that of many narrow-line Seyfert 1 type galaxies: an intense soft excess modelled with a multicolour disc blackbody, a power-law component, and an absorption line at ∼ 1.4 keV. The ∼1.4-keV feature is curious given that it was not detected in previous observations, and its presence could be related to the strength of the soft excess. Of further interest is curvature in the spectrum above ∼2 keV which can be described by a strong reflection component. The strong reflection component, lack of high-energy temporal variability, and extreme radiative efficiency measurements can be understood if we consider gravitational light-bending effects close to a maximally rotating black hole.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)744-752
Number of pages9
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 11 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


Dive into the research topics of 'An intense soft excess and evidence for light bending in the luminous narrow-line quasar PHL 1092'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this