Swift Monitoring of NGC 4151: Evidence for a Second X-Ray/UV Reprocessing

R. Edelson, J. Gelbord, E. Cackett, S. Connolly, C. Done, M. Fausnaugh, E. Gardner, N. Gehrels, M. Goad, K. Horne, I. McHardy, B. M. Peterson, S. Vaughan, M. Vestergaard, A. Breeveld, A. J. Barth, M. Bentz, M. Bottorff, W. N. Brandt, S. M. CrawfordElena Dalla Bontà, D. Emmanoulopoulos, P. Evans, R. Figuera Jaimes, A. V. Filippenko, G. Ferland, D. Grupe, M. Joner, J. Kennea, K. T. Korista, H. A. Krimm, G. Kriss, D. C. Leonard, S. Mathur, H. Netzer, J. Nousek, K. Page, E. Romero-Colmenero, M. Siegel, D. A. Starkey, T. Treu, H. A. Vogler, H. Winkler, W. Zheng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Swift monitoring of NGC 4151 with an ∼6 hr sampling over a total of 69 days in early 2016 is used to construct light curves covering five bands in the X-rays (0.3-50 keV) and six in the ultraviolet (UV)/optical (1900-5500 Å). The three hardest X-ray bands (>2.5 keV) are all strongly correlated with no measurable interband lag, while the two softer bands show lower variability and weaker correlations. The UV/optical bands are significantly correlated with the X-rays, lagging ∼3-4 days behind the hard X-rays. The variability within the UV/optical bands is also strongly correlated, with the UV appearing to lead the optical by ∼0.5-1 days. This combination of ≳3 day lags between the X-rays and UV and ≲1 day lags within the UV/optical appears to rule out the "lamp-post" reprocessing model in which a hot, X-ray emitting corona directly illuminates the accretion disk, which then reprocesses the energy in the UV/optical. Instead, these results appear consistent with the Gardner & Done picture in which two separate reprocessings occur: first, emission from the corona illuminates an extreme-UV-emitting toroidal component that shields the disk from the corona; this then heats the extreme-UV component, which illuminates the disk and drives its variability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number41
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
R.E. gratefully acknowledges support from NASA under awards NNX13AC26G, NNX13AC63G, and NNX13AE99G. J.M.G. acknowledges support from NASA under award NNH13CH61C. Research by A.J.B. and H.A.V. was supported by NSF grant AST-1412693. K.H. acknowledges support from STFC grant ST/M001296/1. M.B. gratefully acknowledges support from the NSF through CAREER grant AST-1253702. S.M.C. and E.R.C. gratefully acknowledge the receipt of research grants from the National Research Foundation (NRF) of South Africa. P.E. and K.P. acknowledge support from the UK Space Agency. A.V.F. and W.Z. are grateful for financial assistance from NSF grant AST-1211916, the TABASGO Foundation, and the Christopher R. Redlich Fund. D.C.L. gratefully acknowledges support from NSF under grants AST-1009571 and AST-1210311. T.T. has been supported by NSF grant AST-1412315 and by the Packard Foundation in the form of a Packard Research Fellowship. M.V. gratefully acknowledges support from the Danish Council for Independent Research via grant no. DFF 4002-00275.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


  • galaxies: Seyfert
  • galaxies: active
  • galaxies: individual (NGC 4151)
  • galaxies: nuclei

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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