295 research outputs found

    Iron K-alpha Emission from X-ray Reflection: Predictions for Gamma-Ray Burst Models

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    Recent observations of several gamma-ray burst (GRB) afterglows have shown evidence for a large amount of X-ray line emitting material, possibly arising from ionized iron. A significant detection of an X-ray spectral feature, such as that found in the Chandra observation of GRB 991216, may provide important constraints on the immediate environment of the burst and hence on progenitor models. The large Fe K-alpha equivalent widths inferred from the X-ray observations favor models in which the line is produced when the primary X-ray emission from the source strikes Thomson-thick material and Compton scatters into our line of sight. We present such reflection spectra here, computed in a fully self-consistent manner, and discuss the range of ionization parameters that may be relevant to different models of GRBs. We argue that the presence of a strong hydrogen-like K-alpha line is unlikely, because Fe-XXVI photons would be trapped resonantly and removed from the line core by Compton scattering. In contrast, a strong narrow emission line from He-like Fe-XXV is prominent in the model spectra. We briefly discuss how these constraints may affect the line energy determination in GRB 991216.Comment: 8 pages, 3 figures, Ap.J. Letters accepte

    Ecological processes dominate the 13C land disequilibrium in a Rocky Mountain subalpine forest

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    pre-printFossil fuel combustion has increased atmospheric CO2 by ≈ 115 μmol mol1 since 1750 and decreased its carbon isotope composition (δ13C) by 1.7-2‰(the 13C Suess effect). Because carbon is stored in the terrestrial biosphere for decades and longer, the δ13C of CO2 released by terrestrial ecosystems is expected to differ from the δ13C of CO2 assimilated by land plants during photosynthesis. This isotopic difference between land-atmosphere respiration (δR) and photosynthetic assimilation (δA) fluxes gives rise to the 13C land disequilibrium (D). Contemporary understanding suggests that over annual and longer time scales, D is determined primarily by the Suess effect, and thus, D is generally positive (δR>δA). A 7 year record of biosphere-atmosphere carbon exchange was used to evaluate the seasonality of δA and δR, and the 13C land disequilibrium, in a subalpine conifer forest. A novel isotopic mixing model was employed to determine the δ13C of net land-atmosphere exchange during day and night and combined with tower-based flux observations to assess δA and δR. The disequilibrium varied seasonally and when flux-weighted was opposite in sign than expected from the Suess effect (D =0.75 ± 0.21‰or 0.88 ± 0.10‰depending on method). Seasonality in D appeared to be driven by photosynthetic discrimination (Δcanopy) responding to environmental factors. Possible explanations for negative D include (1) changes in Δcanopy over decades as CO2 and temperature have risen, and/or (2) post-photosynthetic fractionation processes leading to sequestration of isotopically enriched carbon in long-lived pools like wood and soil