Abstract

We revisit the relation between H2O maser detection rate and nuclear obscuration for a sample of 114 Seyfert galaxies drawn from the CfA, 12 μm, and IRAS F25/F60 catalogs. These sources have mid-infrared spectra from the Spitzer Space Telescope and we search for accompanying X-ray and [O III] 5007 Å fluxes from the literature. We use the strength of the [O IV] 25.9 μm emission line as a tracer of the intrinsic AGN strength. After the normalization by [O IV], the observed X-ray flux provides information about X-ray absorption. The distribution of X-ray/[O IV] flux ratios is significantly different for masers and non-masers: The maser detected Seyfert-2s (Sy 1.8–2.0) populate a distinct X-ray/[O IV] range, which is, on average, about a factor of four lower than the range of Seyfert-2 non-masers and about a factor of ten lower than the range of Seyfert-1s (Sy 1.0–1.5). Non-masers are almost equally distributed over the entire X-ray/[O IV] range. This provides evidence that high nuclear obscuration plays a crucial role in determining the probability of maser detection. Furthermore, after normalization with [O IV], we find a similar but weaker trend for the distribution of the maser detection rate with the absorption of the 7 μm dust continuum. This suggests that the obscuration of the 7 μm continuum occurs on larger spatial scales than that of the X-rays. Hence, in the AGN unified model, at moderate inclinations away from edge-on, the 7 μm dust absorption may occur without any proportionate X-ray absorption. The absorption of [O III] appears unrelated to maser detections. The failure to detect masers in obscured AGN is most likely due to insufficient observational sensitivity.

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URL: http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/phy_fac/400