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2021A&A...650A..57Z - Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 650A, 57-57 (2021/6-1)

The properties of the AGN torus as revealed from a set of unbiased NuSTAR observations.


Abstract (from CDS):

The obscuration observed in active galactic nuclei (AGNs) is mainly caused by dust and gas distributed in a torus-like structure surrounding the supermassive black hole. However, the properties of the obscuring torus of an AGN in X-ray have not yet been fully investigated because of a lack of high-quality data and proper models. In this work, we perform a broadband X-ray spectral analysis of a large, unbiased sample of obscured AGNs (with line-of-sight column density 23≤log(NH)≤24) in the nearby Universe for which high-quality archival NuSTAR data are available. We analyzed the source spectra using the recently developed borus02 model, which enables us to accurately characterize the physical and geometrical properties of AGN-obscuring tori. We compare our results obtained from the unbiased Compton-thin AGNs with those of Compton-thick AGNs. We find that Compton-thin and Compton-thick AGNs may possess similar tori, whose average column density is Compton thick (NH,tor,ave≃1.4x1024cm–2), but they are observed through different (under-dense or over-dense) regions of the tori. We also find that the obscuring torus medium is significantly inhomogeneous, with the torus average column densities being significantly different from their line-of-sight column densities (for most of the sources in the sample). The average torus covering factor of sources in our unbiased sample is cf=0.67, suggesting that the fraction of unobscured AGNs is ∼33%. We developed a new method to measure the intrinsic line-of-sight column density distribution of AGNs in the nearby Universe, and find the results to be in good agreement with constraints from recent population synthesis models.

Abstract Copyright: © ESO 2021

Journal keyword(s): galaxies: active - Galaxy: nucleus - X-rays: galaxies

Simbad objects: 108

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