AAS Meeting #193 - Austin, Texas, January 1999
Session 6. Nearby AGN I - Dust, Gas, Obscuration and Fuelling
Display, Wednesday, January 6, 1999, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall 1

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[6.11] Heavy and Complex X-ray Absorption in Markarian 6: A View Through a Torus Atmosphere?

W.N. Brandt, J. Feldmeier (Penn State), M. Elvis, S. Mathur (SAO), A.C. Fabian, K. Iwasawa (Cambridge IoA)

We have used the ASCA satellite to make the first X-ray spectra of Markarian~6, a bright Seyfert~1.5 galaxy with complex and variable permitted lines, an ionization cone, and remarkable radio structures. Our 0.6--9.5~keV spectra penetrate to the black hole core of this Seyfert and reveal heavy and complex intrinsic X-ray absorption. Both total covering and single partial covering models fail to acceptably fit the observed absorption, and double partial covering or partial covering plus warm absorption appears to be required. The double partial covering model provides the best statistical fit to the data, and we measure large column densities of \approx(3--20)\times 1022~cm-2 irrespective of the particular spectral model under consideration. These X-ray columns are over an order of magnitude larger than expected based on observations at longer wavelengths. Our data suggest that most of the X-ray absorption occurs either in gas that has a relatively small amount of dust or in gas that is located within the Broad Line Region. The X-ray absorber may well be the putative `atmosphere' above the torus that collimates the ionization cone. We also detect an apparently broad 6.4~keV iron~K\alpha line, and we present optical spectra demonstrating that the optical emission lines were in a representative state during our ASCA observation.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: niel@astro.psu.edu

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