The iron unresolved transition array in active galactic nuclei

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The unresolved transition array (UTA) of iron M-shell ions is a prominent absorption feature in the X-ray spectrum of many active galactic nuclei (AGNs). Modeling photoionized plasmas in an attempt to match the observed silicon and oxygen lines fails to predict the level of ionization of iron as inferred by this feature. It is suggested that the discrepancy is due to underestimation of the low-temperature dielectronic recombination rates for iron M-shell ions. Modified ionization balance calculations, based on new (guessed) atomic data, support this idea. The results are shown and compared to the global properties of several observed UTAs. Implications for AGN absorbing gas are discussed, including an analysis of the ionization parameter distribution in such sources. The need for real calculations of such atomic data is stressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-555
Number of pages5
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2004


  • Atomic data
  • Atomic processes
  • Galaxies: active
  • Galaxies: nuclei
  • X-rays: galaxies


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