X-Ray Studies of Radio-Loud AGN
Mingo Fernandez, Beatriz
In this thesis I use X-ray observations to study the cores and extended structures of radio-loud AGN, to determine their structure, accretion properties and the impact they have on their surroundings. I use new Chandra data and archival XMM-Newton observations ofMarkarian 6 to look for evidence of emission from shocked gas around the external radio bubbles, using spatially resolved regions in Chandra and spectral analysis of the XMM data. The results show that the bubbles in Mrk 6 are indeed driving a shock into the halo of the host galaxy, with a Mach number of 3.9. I also find that the spectrum of the AGN has a variable absorbing column, which changes from 8 × 1021 atoms cm−2 to 3 × 1023 atoms cm−2 on short timescales (2-6 years). This is probably caused by a clump of gas close to the central AGN, passing in front of us at the moment of the observation. Using new and archival Chandra observations of the Circinus galaxy, I match them to pre-existing radio, infrared and optical data to study the kpc-scale emission. As for Mrk 6, I find that the radio bubbles in Circinus are driving a shock into the interstellar medium of the host galaxy, with Mach numbers M 2.7–3.6 and M 2.8–5.3 for the W and E shells respectively. Comparing the results with those we previously obtained for Centaurus A, NGC 3801 and Mrk 6, I show that the total energy in the lobes (thermal+kinetic) scales approximately with the radio power of the parent AGN. The spatial coincidence between the X-ray and edge-brightened radio emission in Circinus resembles the morphology of some SNR shocks, a parallel that has been expected for AGN, but has never been observed before. I investigate what underlying mechanisms both types of systems may have in common, arguing that, in Circinus, the edge-brightening in the shells may be accounted for by a B field enhancement caused by shock compression, but do not preclude some local particle acceleration. I also carry out a systematic study of the X-ray emission from the cores in the 0.02 < z < 0.7 2Jy sample, using Chandra and XMM-Newton observations. I combine the results with the mid-IR, optical emission line and radio luminosities, and compare them with those of the 3CRR sources, to show that the low-excitation objects in our sample show all the signs of radiatively inefficient accretion. I study the effect of the jet-related emission on the various luminosities, confirming that it is the main source of soft X-ray emission for our sources. I also find strong correlations between the accretion-related luminosities, and identify several sources whose optical classification is incompatible with their accretion properties. I derive the bolometric and jet kinetic luminosities for the sample and find a difference in the total Eddington rate between the low and high-excitation populations, with the former peaking at 1 per cent and the latter at 20 per cent Eddington. There is, however, an overlap between the two, indicating that a simple Eddington switch may not be possible. The apparent independence of jet kinetic power and radiative luminosity in the highexcitation population in our plots allows us to test the hypothesis in which jet production and radiatively efficient accretion are in fact independent processes that can coexist in high-excitation objects.