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publication

The complex X-ray spectra of two high redshift quasars observed with ASCA

P.J. Serlemitsos, T. Yaqoob, G. Ricker, J. Woo, H. Kunieda,Y. Terashima, and K. Iwasawa
Abstract

We report preliminary results of Advanced Satellite for Cosmology and Astrophysics (ASCA) observations of two high-redshift quasars (z~3) PKS 0438-436 and PKS 2126-158. We find spectral flattening towards low energies in both sources, first found with Roentgen Satellite (ROSAT) and interpreted as being due to excess X-ray absorption. However, the ROSAT data lacked the bandpass and sensitivity to unambiguously support this interpretation. We find that for PKS 2126-158, absorption in intervening low-redshift material along the line-of-sight provides a statistically better description of the data than absorption in material intrinsic to the quasar. The redshift of the putative absorber is required to be less than a few tenths. Given the redshift constraints and the fact that absorption is not common in lower redshift quasars, this result is not easily explained by a simple model. Either the absorber may be complex or else the intrinsic X-ray spectrum may be complex, or both. Compton-reflection dominated models are ruled out but a broken power-law model provides good fits to the data without requiring excess absorption. The break energy is at approximately 6-8 keV in the quasar frame and the energy index of the soft component is required to be extremely flat. This may mean that the X-ray emission in these objects is dominated by synchrotron losses as in BL Lac objects.

 
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