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The nature of X-ray-absorbed quasi-stellar objects

Page, MJ; Carrera, FJ; Stevens, JA; Ebrero, J; Blustin, AJ; (2011) The nature of X-ray-absorbed quasi-stellar objects. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society , 416 2792 - 2801. 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.19226.x. Green open access

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There exists a significant population of broad line, z∼ 2 quasi-stellar objects (QSOs) which have heavily absorbed X-ray spectra. Follow-up observations in the submillimetre show that these QSOs are embedded in ultraluminous starburst galaxies, unlike most unabsorbed QSOs at the same redshifts and luminosities. Here we present X-ray spectra from XMM–Newton for a sample of five such X-ray-absorbed QSOs that have been detected at submillimetre wavelengths. We also present spectra in the rest-frame ultraviolet from ground-based telescopes. All the five QSOs are found to exhibit strong C iv absorption lines in their ultraviolet spectra with equivalent width >5 Å. The X-ray spectra are inconsistent with the hypothesis that these objects show normal QSO continua absorbed by low-ionization gas. Instead, the spectra can be modelled successfully with ionized absorbers, or with cold absorbers if they possess unusually flat X-ray continuum shapes and unusual optical to X-ray spectral energy distributions. We show that the ionized absorber model provides the simplest, most self-consistent explanation for their observed properties. We estimate that the fraction of radiated power that is converted into kinetic luminosity of the outflowing winds is typically ∼4 per cent, in agreement with recent estimates for the kinetic feedback from QSOs required to produce the M–σ relation, and consistent with the hypothesis that the X-ray-absorbed QSOs represent the transition phase between obscured accretion and the luminous QSO phase in the evolution of massive galaxies.

Type: Article
Title: The nature of X-ray-absorbed quasi-stellar objects
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.19226.x
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2011.19226.x
Language: English
Additional information: © 2011 RAS Definitive versions of articles pre-2013 are available at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1365-2966, now published by http://mnras.oxfordjournals.org
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Space and Climate Physics
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1330273
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