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Investigating the Complex X-ray Obscurer around Radio Loud Type 2 Quasar 3C 223

Presentation #100.64 in the session AGN.

Published onJul 01, 2023
Investigating the Complex X-ray Obscurer around Radio Loud Type 2 Quasar 3C 223

3C 223 is a nearby (z=0.1365) radio loud type 2 quasar whose X-ray spectrum from XMM-Newton and NuSTAR reveals a non-homogenous obscuring medium. The obscuration along the line-of-sight to this quasar is heavy (NH,los = 6.2 x 1023 cm-2) though the average global column density is lower (NH,global = 9.2 x 1022 cm-2). We find a relatively high normalization between the transmitted and Compton scattered model components that could have several interesting physical interpretations. The Compton-scattering region could be extended beyond the ~1-2 parsec torus, causing time delays between transmission and scattering. Alternatively, a ring of very heavily Compton-thick material (NH > 1026 cm-2) may block most of the X-ray photons along the line of sight while the global reprocessing material has a largely unobscured view of the X-ray source. Or beaming from the X-ray jet can impart more energy to gas not along the line of sight, boosting the production of Fe Kα photons compared to what is observed through the transmitted component. We revisit a recent claim in the literature about the dearth of Compton-thick, radio loud AGN and find that though 3C 223 is not Compton-thick, such heavily obscured radio loud AGN do exist. These systems, similar to 3C 223, have inhomogeneous obscuring environments with a global average column density that is significantly different from that along the line of sight, demonstrating the importance of physically motivated X-ray spectral models for learning about the complex environments around AGN for both current and future X-ray missions.

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