Letter

Nature 455, 369-371 (18 September 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature07277; Received 2 June 2008; Accepted 17 July 2008

A periodicity of approx1 hour in X-ray emission from the active galaxy RE J1034+396

Marek Gierlin acuteski1, Matthew Middleton1, Martin Ward1 & Chris Done1

  1. Department of Physics, University of Durham, South Road, Durham DH1 3LE, UK

Correspondence to: Marek Gierlin acuteski1 Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to M.G. (Email: marek.gierlinski@durham.ac.uk).

Active galactic nuclei and quasars are thought to be scaled-up versions of Galactic black hole binaries, powered by accretion onto supermassive black holes with masses of 106–109 Unfortunately we are unable to provide accessible alternative text for this. If you require assistance to access this image, or to obtain a text description, please contact npg@nature.com, as opposed to the approx10 Unfortunately we are unable to provide accessible alternative text for this. If you require assistance to access this image, or to obtain a text description, please contact npg@nature.com in binaries (here Unfortunately we are unable to provide accessible alternative text for this. If you require assistance to access this image, or to obtain a text description, please contact npg@nature.com is the solar mass). One example of the similarities between these two types of systems is the characteristic rapid X-ray variability seen from the accretion flow1. The power spectrum of this variability in black hole binaries consists of a broad noise with multiple quasi-periodic oscillations superimposed on it. Although the broad noise component has been observed in many active galactic nuclei2, 3, there have hitherto been no significant detections of quasi-periodic oscillations4, 5, 6. Here we report the discovery of an approx1-hour X-ray periodicity in a bright active galaxy, RE J1034+396. The signal is highly statistically significant (at the 5.6sigma level) and very coherent, with quality factor Q > 16. The X-ray modulation arises from the direct vicinity of the black hole.

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