Revealing the ultrafast outflow in IRAS 13224-3809 through spectral variability

15 May 2018

We present an analysis of the long-term X-ray variability of the extreme narrow-line Seyfert 1 (NLS1) galaxy IRAS 13224-3809 using principal component analysis (PCA) and fractional excess variability (Fvar) spectra to identify model-independent spectral components. We identify a series of variability peaks in both the first PCA component and Fvar spectrum which correspond to the strongest predicted absorption lines from the ultra-fast outflow (UFO) discovered by Parker et al. (2017). We also find higher order PCA components, which correspond to variability of the soft excess and reflection features. The subtle differences between RMS and PCA results argue that the observed flux-dependence of the absorption is due to increased ionization of the gas, rather than changes in column density or covering fraction. This result demonstrates that we can detect outflows from variability alone, and that variability studies of UFOs are an extremely promising avenue for future research.