A periodicity of ∼1 hour in X-ray emission from the active galaxy RE J1034+396

Marek Gierliński (Lead / Corresponding author), Matthew Middleton, Martin Ward, Chris Done

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

162 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Active galactic nuclei and quasars are thought to be scaled-up versions of Galactic black hole binaries, powered by accretion onto supermassive black holes with masses of 106-109 M, as opposed to the ∼10 M in binaries (here M is the solar mass). One example of the similarities between these two types of systems is the characteristic rapid X-ray variability seen from the accretion flow. The power spectrum of this variability in black hole binaries consists of a broad noise with multiple quasi-periodic oscillations superimposed on it. Although the broad noise component has been observed in many active galactic nuclei, there have hitherto been no significant detections of quasi-periodic oscillations. Here we report the discovery of an ∼1-hour X-ray periodicity in a bright active galaxy, RE J1034+396. The signal is highly statistically significant (at the 5.6σ level) and very coherent, with quality factor Q > 16. The X-ray modulation arises from the direct vicinity of the black hole.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-371
Number of pages3
JournalNature
Volume455
Issue number7211
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Sep 2008

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