Does the iron Kα line of active galactic nuclei arise from the Cerenkov line-like radiation?

J. H. You, D. B. Liu, W. P. Chen, L. Chen, S. N. Zhang

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When thermal relativistic electrons with Isotropic distribution of velocities move in a gas region or impinge upon the surface of a cloud that consists of a dense gas or doped dusts, the Cerenkov effect produces peculiar atomic or ionic emission lines, which is known as the Cerenkov line-like radiation. This newly recognized emission mechanism may find wide applications in high-energy astrophysics. In this paper we tentatively adopt this new line emission mechanism to discuss the origin of the iron Kα feature of active galactic nuclei (AGNs). The motivation of this research is to attempt a solution to a problem encountered by the "disk fluorescence line" model, i.e., the lack of temporal response of the observed iron Kα line flux to the changes of the X-ray continuum flux. If the Cerenkov line emission is indeed responsible significantly for the iron Kα feature, the conventional scenario around the central supermassive black holes of AGNs would need to be modified to accommodate more energetic, more violent, and much denser environments than previously thought.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)164-172
Number of pages9
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - 10 Dec 2003


  • Galaxies: active
  • Radiation mechanisms: nonthermal
  • X-rays: galaxies


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