NuSTAR Spectroscopy of Multi-Component X-Ray Reflection from NGC 1068

Franz E. Bauer, Patricia Arevalo, Dominic J. Walton, Michael J. Koss, Simonetta Puccetti, Poshak Gandhi, Daniel Stern, David M. Alexander, Mislav Balokovic, Steve E. Boggs, William N. Brandt, Murray Brightman, Finn E. Christensen, Andrea Comastri, William W. Craig, Agnese Del Moro, Charles J. Hailey, Fiona A. Harrison, Ryan Hickox, Bin LuoCraig B. Markwardt, Andrea Marinucci, Giorgio Matt, Jane R. Rigby, Elizabeth Rivers, Cristian Saez, Ezequiel Treister, C. Megan Urry, William W. Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

304 Downloads (Pure)


We report on high-energy X-ray observations of the Compton-thick Seyfert 2 galaxy NGC 1068 with NuSTAR, which provide the best constraints to date on its >10 keV spectral shape. The NuSTAR data are consistent with those from past and current instruments to within cross-calibration uncertainties, and we find no strong continuum or line variability over the past two decades, which is in line with its X-ray classification as a reflection-dominated Compton-thick active galactic nucleus. The combined NuSTAR, Chandra, XMM-Newton, and Swift BAT spectral data set offers new insights into the complex secondary emission seen instead of the completely obscured transmitted nuclear continuum. The critical combination of the high signal-to-noise NuSTAR data and the decomposition of the nuclear and extranuclear emission with Chandra allow us to break several model degeneracies and greatly aid physical interpretation. When modeled as a monolithic (i.e., a single N-H) reflector, none of the common Compton reflection models are able to match the neutral fluorescence lines and broad spectral shape of the Compton reflection hump without requiring unrealistic physical parameters (e.g., large Fe overabundances, inconsistent viewing angles, or poor fits to the spatially resolved spectra). A multi-component reflector with three distinct column densities (e.g., with best-fit values of N-H of 1.4 x 10(23), 5.0 x 10(24), and 10(25) cm(-2)) provides a more reasonable fit to the spectral lines and Compton hump, with near-solar Fe abundances. In this model, the higher N-H component provides the bulk of the flux to the Compton hump, while the lower N-H component produces much of the line emission, effectively decoupling two key features of Compton reflection. We find that approximate to 30% of the neutral Fe K alpha line flux arises from >2 '' (approximate to 140 pc) and is clearly extended, implying that a significant fraction (and perhaps most) of the
Original languageEnglish
Article number116
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Galaxies: active
  • Galaxies: individual (NGC 1068)
  • X-rays: galaxies

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'NuSTAR Spectroscopy of Multi-Component X-Ray Reflection from NGC 1068'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this