A deeper look into X-ray-selected AGN candidates in dwarf galaxies with Chandra

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Date

2023

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science

Abstract

The ability to accurately discern active massive black holes (BHs) in local dwarf galaxies is paramount to understanding the origins and processes of "seed" BHs in the early universe. We present Chandra X-ray Observatory observations of a sample of three dwarf galaxies (M* < or = 3 x 109 M circled dot, z < or = 0.15) pre-selected by Latimer et al. (2021a) as candidates for hosting active galactic nuclei (AGN). The galaxies were selected from the NASA-Sloan Atlas (NSA) with spatially coincident X-ray detections in the eROSITA Final Equatorial Depth Survey (eFEDS). Our new Chandra data reveal X-ray point sources in two of the three galaxies with luminosities of log(L 2-10keV/[erg s -1]) = 39.1 and 40.4. In the target galaxy with the nondetection, we calculate an upper limit on the luminosity for a potential source. We observed notably higher fluxes and luminosities from the two detected X-ray sources compared to their original eFEDS observations, pointing to possible X-ray variability on the scale of a few years. We plot and fit the spectra of the X-ray sources with a power-law model, finding the likely presence of intrinsic absorption. The X-ray luminosities are above that expected from XRBs, but we cannot definitively rule out stellar-mass compact objects with the data on hand. Assuming the X-ray sources are accreting massive BHs with masses that scale with the stellar mass of the host galaxies, the Eddington ratios are on the order of a few x 10 -3.

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