A correlation between the ionization state of the inner accretion disk and the Eddington ratio of active galactic nuclei.
BALLANTYNE D.R., McDUFFIE J.R. and RUSIN J.S.
Abstract (from CDS):
X-ray reflection features observed from the innermost regions of accretion disks in active galactic nuclei (AGNs) allow important tests of accretion theory. In recent years, it has been possible to use the Fe Kα line and reflection continuum to parameterize the ionization state of the irradiated inner accretion disk. Here, we collect 10 measurements of ξ, the disk ionization parameter, from eight AGNs with strong evidence for reflection from the inner accretion disk and good black hole mass estimates. We find strong statistical evidence (98.56% confidence) for a nearly linear correlation between ξ and the AGN Eddington ratio. Moreover, such a correlation is predicted by a simple application of α-disk accretion theory, albeit with a stronger dependence on the Eddington ratio. The theory shows that there will be intrinsic scatter to any correlation as a result of different black hole spins and radii of reflection. There are several possibilities to soften the predicted dependence on the Eddington ratio to allow a closer agreement with the observed correlation, but the current data do not allow for a unique explanation. The correlation can be used to estimate that MCG-6-30-15 should have a highly ionized inner accretion disk, which would imply a black hole spin of ∼0.8. Additional measurements of ξ from a larger sample of AGNs are needed to confirm the existence of this correlation, and will allow investigation of the accretion disk/corona interaction in the inner regions of accretion disks.
accretion, accretion disks - black hole physics - galaxies: active - galaxies: nuclei