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Reobserving the NLS1 galaxy RE J1034+396 – I. The long-term, recurrent X-ray QPO with a high significance.

Ward, Martin and Done, Chris and Jin, Chichuan (2020) 'Reobserving the NLS1 galaxy RE J1034+396 – I. The long-term, recurrent X-ray QPO with a high significance.', Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society., 495 (4). pp. 3538-3550.


RE J1034+396 is a narrow-line Seyfert 1 galaxy (NLS1) in which the first significant X-ray quasi-periodic oscillation (QPO) in an active galactic nucleus (AGN) was observed in 2007. We report the detection of this QPO in a recent XMM–Newton observation in 2018 with an even higher significance. The quality factor of this QPO is 20, and its period is 3550 ± 80 s, which is 250 ± 100 s shorter than in 2007. While the QPO’s period has no significant energy dependence, its fractional root mean square variability increases from 4 per cent in 0.3–1 keV to 12 per cent in 1–4 keV bands. An interesting phenomenon is that the QPO in 0.3–1 keV leads that in the 1–4 keV bands by 430 ± 50 s with a high coherence, opposite to the soft X-ray lag reported for the observation in 2007. We speculate that the QPO has an intrinsic hard lag, while the previous reported soft lag is caused by the interference of stochastic variability. This soft X-ray lead in the new data supports the idea that the QPO of RE J1034+396 is a possible AGN counterpart of the 67 Hz high-frequency QPO seen in the black hole binary GRS 1915+105. We also search for QPO harmonics, but do not find any significant signals. Our new data reinforce previous results that the QPO is seen in a specific spectral state, as the only two observations showing no significant QPO signal exhibit an even stronger soft X-ray excess than the other six observations that display the QPO. Therefore, our results imply that the QPO in RE J1034+396 is physically linked to a soft X-ray component.

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Publisher statement:This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. ©: 2020 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.
Date accepted:11 May 2020
Date deposited:31 July 2020
Date of first online publication:10 June 2020
Date first made open access:31 July 2020

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