Exploring the Link between the X-Ray Power Spectra and Energy Spectra of Active Galactic Nuclei
Yang, Haonan; Jin, Chichuan; Yuan, Weimin
September 2022, The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 936, Issue 1, id.36, 19 pp.
Active galactic nuclei (AGN) are generally considered the scaled-up counterparts of X-ray binaries (XRBs). It is known that the power spectral density (PSD) of the X-ray emission of XRBs shows significant evolution with spectral state. It is not clear whether AGN follow a similar evolutionary trend, however, though their X-ray emission and the PSD are both variable. In this work, we study a sample of nine AGN with multiple long observations with XMM-Newton, which exhibit significant X-ray spectral variation. We perform Bayesian PSD analysis to measure the PSD shape and variation. We find that a large change in the X-ray energy spectrum (mainly the change in flux state) is often accompanied by a large change in the PSD shape. The emergence of a high-frequency break in the PSD also depends on the spectral state. Among the four sources with significant high-frequency PSD breaks detected, three show the break only in the high-flux state, while the remaining one shows it only in the low-flux state. Moreover, the X-ray rms variability in different spectral states of an AGN is found to vary by as much as 1.0 dex. These results suggest that the different variability properties observed are likely caused by different physical processes dominating different spectral states. Our results also indicate that the intrinsic PSD variation can introduce a significant fraction of the dispersion as reported for the correlations between various X-ray variability properties and the black hole mass.