Resolving the soft X-ray ultra fast outflow in PDS 456

Author/Creator ORCID





Citation of Original Publication

James Reeves et al., Resolving the soft X-ray ultra fast outflow in PDS 456, Astrophysical Journal,10.3847/1538-4357/ab8cc4


This item is likely protected under Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. Unless on a Creative Commons license, for uses protected by Copyright Law, contact the copyright holder or the author.



Past X-ray observations of the nearby luminous quasar PDS 456 (at z=0.184) have revealed a wide angle accretion disk wind (Nardini et al. 2015), with an outflow velocity of ∼−0.25c, as observed through observations of its blue-shifted iron K-shell absorption line profile. Here we present three new XMM-Newton observations of PDS 456; one in September 2018 where the quasar was bright and featureless, and two in September 2019, 22 days apart, occurring when the quasar was five times fainter and where strong blue-shifted lines from the wind were present. During the second September 2019 observation, three broad (σ=3000 km s⁻¹) absorption lines were resolved in the high resolution RGS spectrum, which are identified with blue-shifted OVIII Lyα, NeIX Heα and NeX Lyα. The outflow velocity of this soft X-ray absorber was found to be v/c=−0.258±0.003, fully consistent with iron K absorber with v/c=−0.261±0.007. The ionization parameter and column density of the soft X-ray component (logξ=3.4, NH=2×10²¹ cm⁻²) outflow was lower by about two orders of magnitude, when compared to the high ionization wind at iron K (logξ=5, NH=7×10²³ cm⁻²). Substantial variability was seen in the soft X-ray absorber between the 2019 observations, declining from NH=10²³ cm⁻² to NH=10²¹ cm⁻² over 20 days, while the iron K component was remarkably stable. We conclude that the soft X-ray wind may originate from an inhomogeneous wind streamline passing across the line of sight and which due to its lower ionization, is located further from the black hole, on parsec scales, than the innermost disk wind.