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Durham University

Department of Physics

Staff profile

Publication details for Prof Chris Done

Jin, Chichuan, Done, Chris, Ward, Martin & Gardner, Emma (2017). Super-Eddington QSO RX J0439.6-5311 – II. Multiwavelength constraints on the global structure of the accretion flow. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 471(1): 706-721.

Author(s) from Durham


We present a detailed multiwavelength study of an unobscured, highly super-Eddington Type-1 QSO RX J0439.6-5311. We combine the latest XMM–Newton observation with all archival data from infrared to hard X-rays. The optical spectrum is very similar to that of 1H 0707-495 in having extremely weak [O III] and strong Fe II emission lines, although the black hole mass is probably slightly higher at 5-10 × 106 M⊙. The broad-band spectral energy distribution is uniquely well defined due to the extremely low Galactic and intrinsic absorption, so the bolometric luminosity is tightly constrained. The optical/UV accretion disc continuum is seen down to 900 Å, showing that there is a standard thin disc structure down to R ≥ 190–380 Rg and determining the mass accretion rate through the outer disc. This predicts a much higher bolometric luminosity than observed, indicating that there must be strong wind and/or advective energy losses from the inner disc, as expected for a highly super-Eddington accretion flow. Significant outflows are detected in both the narrow-line region (NLR) and broad-line region (BLR) emission lines, confirming the presence of a wind. We propose a global picture for the structure of a super-Eddington accretion flow where the inner disc puffs up, shielding much of the potential NLR material, and show how inclination angle with respect to this and the wind can explain very different X-ray properties of RX J0439.6-5311 and 1H 0707-495. Therefore, this source provides strong supporting evidence that ‘simple’ and ‘complex’ super-Eddington NLS1s can be unified within the same accretion flow scenario but with different inclination angles. We also propose that these extreme NLS1s could be the low-redshift analogues of weak emission-line quasars.