Evolution of a Relativistic Outflow and X-Ray Corona in the Extreme Changing-look AGN 1ES 1927+654

Megan Masterson*, Erin Kara, Claudio Ricci, Javier A. García, Andrew C. Fabian, Ciro Pinto, Peter Kosec, Ronald A. Remillard, Michael Loewenstein, Benny Trakhtenbrot, Iair Arcavi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


1ES 1927+654 is a paradigm-defying active galactic nucleus (AGN) and one of the most peculiar X-ray nuclear transients. In early 2018, this well-known AGN underwent a changing-look event, in which broad optical emission lines appeared and the optical flux increased. Yet, by 2018 July, the X-ray flux had dropped by over two orders of magnitude, indicating a dramatic change in the inner accretion flow. With three years of observations with NICER, XMM-Newton, and NuSTAR, we present the X-ray evolution of 1ES 1927+654, which can be broken down into three phases: (1) an early super-Eddington phase with rapid variability in X-ray luminosity and spectral parameters, (2) a stable super-Eddington phase at the peak X-ray luminosity, and (3) a steady decline back to the pre-outburst luminosity and spectral parameters. For the first time, we witnessed the formation of the X-ray corona, as the X-ray spectrum transitioned from thermally dominated to primarily Comptonized. We also track the evolution of the prominent, broad 1 keV feature in the early X-ray spectra and show that this feature can be modeled with blueshifted reflection (z = -0.33) from a single-temperature blackbody irradiating spectrum using xillverTDE, a new flavor of the xillver models. Thus, we propose that the 1 keV feature could arise from reflected emission off the base of an optically thick outflow from a geometrically thick, super-Eddington inner accretion flow, connecting the inner accretion flow with outflows launched during extreme accretion events (e.g., tidal disruption events). Lastly, we compare 1ES 1927+654 to other nuclear transients and discuss applications of xillverTDE to super-Eddington accretors.

Original languageEnglish
Article number35
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Evolution of a Relativistic Outflow and X-Ray Corona in the Extreme Changing-look AGN 1ES 1927+654'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this