Evidence for a moderate spin from X-ray reflection of the high-mass supermassive black hole in the cluster-hosted quasar H1821+643


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jats:titleABSTRACT</jats:title> jats:pWe present an analysis of deep Chandra Low-Energy and High-Energy Transmission Grating archival observations of the extraordinarily luminous radio-quiet quasar H1821+643, hosted by a rich and massive cool-core cluster at redshift z = 0.3. These data sets provide high-resolution spectra of the AGN at two epochs, free from contamination by the intracluster medium and from the effects of photon pile-up, providing a sensitive probe of the iron-K band. At both epochs, the spectrum is well described by a power-law continuum plus X-ray reflection from both the inner accretion disc and cold, slowly moving distant matter. Adopting this framework, we proceed to examine the properties of the inner disc and the black hole spin. Using Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) methods, we combine constraints from the two epochs assuming that the black hole spin, inner disc inclination, and inner disc iron abundance are invariant. The black hole spin is found to be modest, with a 90 per cent credible range of a∗=0.62−0.37+0.22; and, with a mass MBH in the range log (MBH/M⊙) ∼ 9.2–10.5, this is the most massive black hole candidate for which a well-defined spin constraint has yet been obtained. The modest spin of this black hole supports previous suggestions that the most massive black holes may grow via incoherent or chaotic accretion and/or SMBH-SMBH mergers.</jats:p>

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galaxies: active, quasars: individual: H1821+643, quasars: supermassive black holes, X-rays: galaxies, X-rays: individual: H1821+643
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Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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Oxford University Press (OUP)
Science and Technology Facilities Council (ST/S000623/1)
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) ERC (834203)
STFC (ST/V50659X/1)
ERC Advanced Award (DISKtoHALO)