The X-ray continuum time-lags and intrinsic coherence in AGN [HEAP]

We present the results from a systematic analysis of the X-ray continuum (`hard’) time-lags and intrinsic coherence between the $2-4\,\mathrm{keV}$ and various energy bands in the $0.3-10\,\mathrm{keV}$ range, for ten X-ray bright and highly variable active galactic nuclei (AGN). We used all available archival \textit{XMM-Newton} data, and estimated the time-lags following Epitropakis \& Papadakis (2016). By performing extensive numerical simulations, we arrived at useful guidelines for computing intrinsic coherence estimates that are minimally biased, have known errors, and are (approximately) Gaussian distributed. Owing to the way we estimated the time-lags and intrinsic coherence, we were able to do a proper model fitting to the data. Regarding the continuum time-lags, we are able to demonstrate that they have a power-law dependence on frequency, with a slope of $-1$, and that their amplitude scales with the logarithm of the light-curve mean-energy ratio. We also find that their amplitude increases with the square root of the X-ray Eddington ratio. Regarding the intrinsic coherence, we found that it is approximately constant at low frequencies. It then decreases exponentially at frequencies higher than a characteristic `break frequency.’ Both the low-frequency constant intrinsic-coherence value and the break frequency have a logarithmic dependence on the light-curve mean-energy ratio. Neither the low-frequency constant intrinsic-coherence value, nor the break frequency exhibit a universal scaling with either the central black hole mass, or the the X-ray Eddington ratio. Our results could constrain various theoretical models of AGN X-ray variability.

Read this paper on arXiv…

A. Epitropakis and I. Papadakis
Tue, 14 Mar 17

Comments: 36 pages, 6 tables, 42 figures (accepted for publication in MNRAS)