Publications by Lance Miller

Measuring light echoes in NGC 4051

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 467 (2017) 3924-3933

TJ Turner, L Miller, JN Reeves, V Braito

© 2017 The Authors. Five archived X-ray observations of NGC 4051, taken using the NuSTAR observatory, have been analysed, revealing lags between flux variations in bands covering a wide range of X-ray photon energy. In all pairs of bands compared, the harder band consistently lags the softer band by at least 1000 s, at temporal frequencies ∼5 × 10 −5 Hz. In addition, soft-band lags up to 400 s are measured at frequencies ∼2 × 10 −4 Hz. Light echoes from an excess of soft band emission in the inner accretion disc cannot explain the lags in these data, as they are seen in cross-correlations with energy bands where the softer band is expected to have no contribution from reflection. The basic properties of the time delays have been parametrized by fitting a top-hat response function that varies with photon energy, taking fully into account the covariance between measured time lag values. The low-frequency hard-band lags and the transition to soft-band lags are consistent with time lags arising as reverberation delays from circumnuclear scattering of X-rays, although greater model complexity is required to explain the entire spectrum of lags. The scattered fraction increases with increasing photon energy as expected, and the scattered fraction is high, indicating the reprocessor to have a global covering fraction ∼50 per cent around the continuum source. Circumnuclear material, possibly associated with a disc wind at a few hundred gravitational radii from the primary X-ray source, may provide suitable reprocessing.

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