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XZ: X-ray spectroscopic redshifts of obscured AGN

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Redshifts are fundamental for our understanding of extragalactic X-ray sources. Ambiguous counterpart associations, expensive optical spectroscopy and/or multi-mission multiwavelength coverage to resolve degeneracies make estimation often difficult in practice. Here we present a new method to constrain redshifts from the full X-ray spectrum directly, by Bayesian model fitting of low-resolution spectra. We demonstrate our approach on real Chandra Deep Field South data, determining 29 redshifts which have optical spectroscopic redshifts. Our accuracy is up to ∆z=0.5, with only three outliers which can be explained by incorrect optical associations. Through extensive simulations we verify the method. To work optimally, AGN need be obscured and have at least ∼200 (XMM-Newton) or ∼150 (Chandra/ACIS) counts. Not meeting these conditions does not lead to wrong redshifts, only large uncertainties. We conclude with predictions for the upcoming eROSITA and ATHENA missions.

This talk is part of the Institute of Astronomy Extra Talks series.

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