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Testing the disk-corona interplay in radiatively-efficient broad-line AGN

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Arcodia,  R.
High Energy Astrophysics, MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Merloni,  A.
High Energy Astrophysics, MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Nandra,  K.
High Energy Astrophysics, MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Ponti,  G.
High Energy Astrophysics, MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Arcodia, R., Merloni, A., Nandra, K., & Ponti, G. (2019). Testing the disk-corona interplay in radiatively-efficient broad-line AGN. Astronomy and Astrophysics, 628: A135. doi:10.1051/0004-6361/201935874.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0005-38EF-0
Abstract
The correlation observed between monochromatic X-ray and UV luminosities in radiatively-efficient active galactic nuclei (AGN) lacks a clear theoretical explanation despite being used for many applications. Such a correlation, with its small intrinsic scatter and its slope that is smaller than unity in log space, represents the compelling evidence that a mechanism regulating the energetic interaction between the accretion disk and the X-ray corona must be in place. This ensures that going from fainter to brighter sources the coronal emission increases less than the disk emission. We discuss here a self-consistently coupled disk-corona model that can identify this regulating mechanism in terms of modified viscosity prescriptions in the accretion disk. The model predicts a lower fraction of accretion power dissipated in the corona for higher accretion states. We then present a quantitative observational test of the model using a reference sample of broad-line AGN and modeling the disk-corona emission for each source in the LX − LUV plane. We used the slope, normalization, and scatter of the observed relation to constrain the parameters of the theoretical model. For non-spinning black holes and static coronae, we find that the accretion prescriptions that match the observed slope of the LX − LUV relation produce X-rays that are too weak with respect to the normalization of the observed relation. Instead, considering moderately-outflowing Comptonizing coronae and/or a more realistic high-spinning black hole population significantly relax the tension between the strength of the observed and modeled X-ray emission, while also predicting very low intrinsic scatter in the LX − LUV relation. In particular, this latter scenario traces a known selection effect of flux-limited samples that preferentially select high-spinning, hence brighter, sources.