The soft X-ray spectra of active galactic nuclei

  • G. Branduardi-Raymont
Spectral Formation
Part of the Lecture Notes in Physics book series (LNP, volume 266)


EXOSAT LE and ME data on Seyfert 1 galaxies and quasars are reviewed: the observations indicate that a strong flux of soft X-rays, in excess of the power-law continuum that extends over most of the spectrum, is a common feature of the emission of Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN). This excess is seen in both Seyfert galaxies and quasars, irrespective of whether they are X-ray or optically selected. EXOSAT observations reveal that this low-energy X-ray spectral component, which is often identified with the emission of an optically thick accretion disc surrounding a central massive black hole, is highly variable, with changes in flux by more than a factor of ten over a few months. This new result and the observation of spectral variability correlated with the changes in flux give clues to the mechanisms of X-ray production in AGN and to the structure of the innermost parts of the accretion disc in these objects.


Accretion Disc Energy Index Seyfert Galaxy Strong Flux Thick Accretion Disc 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Branduardi-Raymont
    • 1
  1. 1.Mullard Space Science LaboratoryUniversity College LondonDorkingUK

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