Anatomy of the AGN in NGC 5548 IX. photoionized emission features in the soft X-ray spectra

Junjie Mao, J. S. Kaastra, M. Mehdipour, Liyi Gu, E. Costantini, G. A. Kriss, S. Bianchi, G. Branduardi-Raymont, E. Behar, L. Di Gesu, G. Ponti, P. -O. Petrucci, J. Ebrero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


The X-ray narrow emission line region (NELR) of the archetypal Seyfert 1 galaxy NGC\,5548 has been interpreted as a single-phase photoionized plasma that is absorbed by some of the warm absorber components. This scenario requires those overlaying warm absorber components to have larger distance (to the central engine) than the X-ray NELR, which is not fully consistent with the distance estimates found in the literature. Therefore, we reanalyze the high-resolution spectra obtained in 2013--2014 with the Reflection Grating Spectrometer (RGS) aboard \textit{XMM}-Newton to provide an alternative interpretation of the X-ray narrow emission features. We find that the X-ray narrow emission features in NGC\,5548 can be described by a two-phase photoionized plasma with different ionization parameters ($\log \xi=1.3$ and $0.1$) and kinematics ($v_{\rm out}=-50$ and $-400~{\rm km~s^{-1}}$), and no further absorption by the warm absorber components. The X-ray and optical NELR might be the same multi-phase photoionized plasma. Both X-ray and optical NELR have comparable distances, asymmetric line profiles, and the underlying photoionized plasma is turbulent and compact in size. The X-ray NELR is not the counterpart of the UV/X-ray absorber outside the line of sight because their distances and kinematics are not consistent. In addition, X-ray broad emission features that we find in the spectrum can be accounted for by a third photoionized emission component. The RGS spectrum obtained in 2016 is analyzed as well, where the luminosity of most prominent emission lines (the \ion{O}{vii} forbidden line and \ion{O}{viii} Ly$\alpha$ line) are the same (at a 1 $\sigma$ confidence level) as in 2013--2014.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberA18
Number of pages11
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Early online date10 Apr 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Apr 2018


  • astro-ph.HE
  • X-rays: galaxies
  • active galaxies
  • Seyfert – galaxies
  • NGC 5548
  • spectroscopy


Dive into the research topics of 'Anatomy of the AGN in NGC 5548 IX. photoionized emission features in the soft X-ray spectra'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this