• galaxies: active;
  • quasars: individual: PG 1700+518;
  • X-rays: galaxies


We report the first high-energy detection of PG 1700+518, a well-known low-ionization broad absorption line quasar (quasi-stellar object, QSO). Due to previous X-ray non-detection, it was classified as soft X-ray weak QSO. We observed PG 1700+518 with XMM–Newton for about 60 ks divided in three exposures. The spectrum below 2 keV is very steep, Γ∼ 2.4–3.8, while at higher energies the extremely flat emission (photon index Γ∼ 0.15, when modelled with a power law) suggests the presence of strong absorption (NH, pl∼ 2 × 1023 cm−2, Γ fixed to 1.8) or a reflection-dominated continuum. The broad-band flux is consistent with previous non-detection. Simultaneous European Photon Imaging Camera (EPIC) and Optical Monitor (OM) data confirm its X-ray weakness (observedαox∼−2.2). The level of obscuration derived from the X-ray spectra of PG 1700+518 cannot explain its soft X-ray nuclear weakness unless a column density of NH≳ 2 × 1024 cm−2 is present.