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      Variability of NGC 4051 and the Nature of Narrow-Line Seyfert 1 Galaxies

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          Abstract

          We report on a three-year program of coordinated X-ray and optical monitoring of the Narrow-Line Seyfert 1 galaxy NGC 4051. The rapid continuum variations observed in the X-ray spectra are not detected in the optical, although the X-ray and optical continuum fluxes are correlated on time scales of many weeks and longer. Variations in the flux of the broad H-beta line are found to lag behind the optical continuum variations by approximately 6 days (with an uncertainty of 2-3 days), and combining this with the line width yields a virial mass estimate of about 1.1e6 solar masses, at the very low end of the distribution of AGN masses measured by line reverberation. Strong variability of He II lambda 4686 is also detected, and the response time measured is similar to that of H-beta, but with a much larger uncertainty. The He II lambda 4686 line is almost five times broader than H-beta, and it is strongly blueward asymmetric, as are the high-ionization UV lines recorded in archive spectra of NGC 4051. The data are consistent with the Balmer lines arising in a low-inclination (nearly face-on) disk-like configuration, and the high-ionization lines arising in an outflowing wind, of which we observe preferentially the near side. During the third year of monitoring, both the X-ray continuum and the He II lambda 4686 line went into extremely low states, although the optical continuum and the H-beta broad line were both still present and variable. We suggest that the inner part of the accretion disk may have gone into an advection-dominated state, yielding little radiation from the hotter inner disk.

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          Author and article information

          Journal
          08 May 2000
          Article
          10.1016/S1387-6473(00)00086-5
          astro-ph/0005143
          dfd793b0-4c69-43b6-9c22-a90fc0f673bc
          History
          Custom metadata
          New Astron.Rev. 44 (2000) 491-496
          Invited talk presented at the Joint MPE,AIP,ESO workshop on NLS1s, Bad Honnef, Dec. 1999, to appear in New Astronomy Reviews; also available at http://wave.xray.mpe.mpg.de/conferences/nls1-workshop
          astro-ph

          General astrophysics
          General astrophysics

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