Direct probe of the inner accretion flow around the supermassive black hole in NGC 2617
Aims. NGC 2617 is a nearby (z ~ 0.01) active galaxy that recently switched from being a Seyfert 1.8 to be a Seyfert 1.0. At the same time, it underwent a strong increase of X-ray flux by one order of magnitude with respect to archival measurements. We characterise the X-ray spectral and timing properties of NGC 2617 with the aim of studying the physics of a changing-look active galactic nucleus (AGN).
Methods. We performed a comprehensive timing and spectral analysis of two XMM-Newton pointed observations spaced by one month, complemented by archival quasi-simultaneous INTEGRAL observations.
Results. We found that, to the first order, NGC 2617 looks like a type 1 AGN in the X-ray band and, with the addition of a modest reflection component, its continuum can be modelled well either with a power law plus a phenomenological blackbody, a partially covered power law, or a double Comptonisation model. Independent of the continuum adopted, in all three cases a column density of a few 1023 cm-2 of neutral gas covering 20–40% of the continuum source is required by the data. Most interestingly, absorption structures due to highly ionised iron have been detected in both observations with a redshift of about 0.1c with respect to the systemic redshift of the host galaxy.
Conclusions. The redshifted absorber can be ascribed to a failed wind/aborted jets component, to gravitational redshift effects, and/or to matter directly falling towards the central supermassive black hole. In either case, we are probing the innermost accretion flow around the central supermassive black hole of NGC 2617 and might be even watching matter in a direct inflow towards the black hole itself.
A&A, Volume 597, January 2017, A66.