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Journal Article

Compact and variable radio emission from an active galaxy with supersoft X-ray emission


Liu,  Daizhong
MPI for Extraterrestrial Physics, Max Planck Society;

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Yang, L., Shu, X., Zhang, F., Chandola, Y., Liu, D., Liu, Y., et al. (2022). Compact and variable radio emission from an active galaxy with supersoft X-ray emission. The Astrophysical Journal, 935(2): 115. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ac80ba.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000C-1453-0
RX J1301.9+2747 is a unique active galaxy with a supersoft X-ray spectrum that lacks significant emission at energies above 2 keV. In addition, it is one of few galaxies displaying quasiperiodic X-ray eruptions that recur on a timescale of 13–20 ks. We present multiepoch radio observations of RX J1301.9+2747 using GMRT, Very Large Array (VLA), and Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA). The VLBA imaging at 1.6 GHz reveals a compact radio emission unresolved at a scale of <0.7 pc, with a brightness temperature of Tb > 5 × 107 K. The radio emission is variable by more than a factor of 2.5 over a few days, based on the data taken from VLA monitoring campaigns. The short-term radio variability suggests that the radio emitting region has a size as small as 8 × 10−4 pc, resulting in an even higher brightness temperature of Tb ∼ 1012 K. A similar limit on the source size can be obtained if the observed flux variability is not intrinsic and caused by the interstellar scintillation effect. The overall radio spectrum is steep with a time-averaged spectral index α = −0.78 ± 0.03 between 0.89 and 14 GHz. These observational properties rule out a thermal or star formation origin of the radio emission, and appear to be consistent with the scenario of episodic jet ejections driven by a magnetohydrodynamic process. Simultaneous radio and X-ray monitoring observations down to a cadence of hours are required to test whether the compact and variable radio emission is correlated with the quasiperiodic X-ray eruptions.