Redshifted Iron Emission and Absorption Lines in the Chandra X-Ray Spectrum of Centaurus A

David Bogensberger, Jon Miller, Elias Kammoun, Richard Mushotzky, Laura Brenneman, W. N. Brandt, Edward M. Cackett, Andrew Fabian, Jelle Kaastra, Shashank Dattathri, Ehud Behar, Abderahmen Zoghbi

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Cen A hosts the closest active galactic nucleus to the Milky Way, which makes it an ideal target for investigating the dynamical processes in the vicinity of accreting supermassive black holes. In this paper, we present 14 Chandra HETGS spectra of the nucleus of Cen A that were observed throughout 2022. We compared them with each other, and contrasted them against the two previous Chandra HETGS spectra from 2001. This enabled an investigation into the spectral changes occurring on timescales of months and 21 years. All Chandra spectra could be well fitted by an absorbed power law with a strong and narrow Fe Kα line, a leaked power-law feature at low energies, and Si and S Kα lines that could not be associated with the central engine. The flux of the continuum varied by a factor of 2.74 ± 0.05 over the course of the observations, whereas the Fe line only varied by 18.8% ± 8.8%. The photon index increased over 21 years, and the hydrogen column density varied significantly within a few months as well. The Fe Kα line was found at a lower energy than expected from the Cen A redshift, amounting to an excess velocity of 326 − 94 + 84 km s − 1 relative to Cen A. We investigated warped accretion disks, bulk motion, and outflows as possible explanations of this shift. The spectra also featured ionized absorption lines from Fe xxv and Fe xxvi, describing a variable inflow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number150
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2024

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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