X-ray Diagnostics of Broad Absorption Line Quasar Geometry


A new generation of sensitive X-ray measurements are indicating that the existence of X-ray attenuation column densities, NH > 10 cm is quite common amongst broad absorption line quasars (BALQSOs). This is significant to the geometry of the broad absorption line (BAL) outflow. In particular, such an X-ray shield also shields equatorial accretion disk winds from the UV, thereby preventing high velocity equatorial outflows from being launched. By contrast, bipolar winds initiated by continuum radiation pressure from the funnel of a slim accretion disk flare outward (like a trumpet) and offer vastly different absorbing columns to the X-ray and UV emission which are emitted from distinct regions of the disk, ∼ 6M and ∼ 10M −40M , respectively (where M is the radius of the black hole). Recent numerical work indicates that it is also possible to launch bipolar outflows from the inner regions of a thin disk. The recent discovery with VLBI that the Galactic analog of a BALQSO, the X-ray binary Circinus X-1 (with high velocity P Cygni X-ray absorption lines) is viewed virtually along the radio jet axis (and therefore along the spin axis of the black hole and the normal to the accretion disk) has rekindled interest in the bipolar models of BALQSOs. We explore this possibility by studying the nearest BAL QSO, MRK 231. High resolution 2-D optical spectroscopy and VLBI mappings of the radio jet axis indicates that the BAL outflow is parallel to the parsec scale radio jet. Subject headings: quasars: absorption lines — X-rays: galaxies — galaxies: active — accretion disks — black holes

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@inproceedings{Punsly2005XrayDO, title={X-ray Diagnostics of Broad Absorption Line Quasar Geometry}, author={Brian Punsly and Sebastian Lipari}, year={2005} }