5,969 research outputs found

    Soft X-ray background fluctuations and large-scale structure in the Universe

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    We have studied the fluctuations of the soft (0.9-2 keV) X-ray background intensity for ~10 arcmin and ~2 arcmin beam sizes, using 80 high galactic latitude medium-deep images from the ROSAT position sensitive proportional counter (PSPC). These fluctuations are dominated (and well reproduced) by confusion noise produced by sources unresolved with the beam sizes we used. We find no evidence for any excess fluctuations which could be attributed to source clustering. The 95 per cent confidence upper limits on excess fluctuations dIclus are: dIclus/Ixrb_10 arcmin<~ 0.12, dIclus/Ixrb_2 arcmin <~0.07. We have checked the possibility that low surface brightness extended objects (like groups or clusters of galaxies) may have a significant contribution to excess fluctuations, finding that they are not necessary to fit the distribution of fluctuations, and obtaining an upper limit on the surface density for this type of source. Standard Cold Dark Matter models would produce dIclus/Ixrb larger than the above limits for any value of the density of the Universe Omega=0.1-1, unless the bias parameter of the X-ray emitting matter is smaller than unity, or an important fraction of the sources of the soft X-ray background (~30 per cent) is at redshifts z>1. Limits on the 2-10 keV excess fluctuations are also considered, showing that X-ray sources in that band have to be at redshifts z>1 unless Omega>0.4. Finally, if the spatial correlation function of the sources that produce these excess fluctuations is instead a power law, the density contrast drho/rho implied by the excess fluctuations reveals that the Universe is smooth and linear on scales of tens of Mpc, while it can be highly non-linear on scales ~1 Mpc.Comment: 10 pages, LaTeX file, epsf.sty and 7 postscript figures. To appear in MNRAS. Fig. 7 replaced, some references improved, a few corrections to the tex

    On the arcmin structure of the X-ray Universe

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    We present the angular correlation function of the X-ray population of 1063 XMM-Newton observations at high Galactic latitudes, comprising up to ~30000 sources over a sky area of ~125 sq. degrees in the energy bands: soft (0.5-2 keV) and hard (2-10 keV). This is the largest sample of serendipitous X-ray sources ever used for clustering analysis purposes to date and the results have been determined with unprecedented accuracy. We detect significant clustering signals in the soft and hard bands (~10 sigma and ~5 sigma, respectively). We deproject the angular correlation function via Limber's equation and calculate the typical spatial lengths. We infer that AGN at redshifts ~1 are embedded in dark matter halos with typical masses of log M ~ 12.6/h Msol and lifetimes in the range ~3-5 x 10^8 years, which indicates that AGN activity is a transient phase in the life of galaxies.Comment: 4 pages, 1 figure. Proc. of the conference "X-ray Astronomy 2009: Present status, multiwavelength approach and future perspectives", September 2009, Bologna. To appear in AIP Conf. Proc. (editors: A. Comastri, M. Cappi, L. Angelini)

    Analysis of Spitzer-IRS spectra of hyperluminous infrared galaxies

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    Hyperluminous infrared galaxies (HLIRG) are the most luminous persistent objects in the Universe. They exhibit extremely high star formation rates, and most of them seem to harbour an AGN. They are unique laboratories to investigate the most extreme star formation, and its connection to super-massive black hole growth. The AGN and SB relative contributions to the total output in these objects is still debated. Our aim is to disentangle the AGN and SB emission of a sample of thirteen HLIRG. We have studied the MIR low resolution spectra of a sample of thirteen HLIRG obtained with the IRS on board Spitzer. The 5-8 {\mu}m range is an optimal window to detect AGN activity even in a heavily obscured environment. We performed a SB/AGN decomposition of the continuum using templates, successfully applied for ULIRG in previous works. The MIR spectra of all sources is largely dominated by AGN emission. Converting the 6 {\mu}m luminosity into IR luminosity, we found that ~80% of the sample shows an IR output dominated by the AGN emission. However, the SB activity is significant in all sources (mean SB contribution ~30%), showing star formation rates ~300-3000 solar masses per year. Using X-ray and MIR data we estimated the dust covering factor (CF) of these HLIRG, finding that a significant fraction presents a CF consistent with unity. Along with the high X-ray absorption shown by these sources, this suggests that large amounts of dust and gas enshroud the nucleus of these HLIRG, as also observed in ULIRG. Our results are in agreement with previous studies of the IR SED of HLIRG using radiative transfer models, and we find strong evidence that all HLIRG harbour an AGN. This work provides further support to the idea that AGN and SB are both crucial to understand the properties of HLIRG. Our study of the CF supports the hypothesis that HLIRG can be divided in two different populations.Comment: 17 pages, 9 figures, 4 tables. Accepted for publication in A&

    X-ray absorbed QSOs and the QSO evolutionary sequence

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    Unexpected in the AGN unified scheme, there exists a population of broad-line z~2 QSOs which have heavily absorbed X-ray spectra. These objects constitute 10% of the population at luminosities and redshifts characteristic of the main producers of QSO luminosity in the Universe. Our follow up observations in the submm show that these QSOs are often embedded in ultraluminous starburst galaxies, unlike most QSOs at the same redshifts and luminosities. The radically different star formation properties between the absorbed and unabsorbed QSOs implies that the X-ray absorption is unrelated to the torus invoked in AGN unification schemes. Instead, these results suggest that the objects represent a transitional phase in an evolutionary sequence relating the growth of massive black holes to the formation of galaxies. The most puzzling question about these objects has always been the nature of the X-ray absorber. We present our study of the X-ray absorbers based on deep (50-100ks) XMM-Newton spectroscopy. We show that the absorption is most likely due to a dense ionised wind driven by the QSO. This wind could be the mechanism by which the QSO terminates the star formation in the host galaxy, and ends the supply of accretion material, to produce the present day black hole/spheroid mass ratio.Comment: 4 pages, to appear in conference proceedings "Studying Galaxy Evolution with Spitzer and Herschel

    X-ray sources as tracers of the large-scale structure in the Universe

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    We review the current status of studies of large-scale structure in the X-ray Universe. After motivating the use X-rays for cosmological purposes, we discuss the various approaches used on different angular scales including X-ray background multipoles, cross-correlations of the X-ray background with galaxy catalogues, clustering of X-ray selected sources and small-scale fluctuations and anisotropies in the X-ray background. We discuss the implications of the above studies for the bias parameter of X-ray sources, which is likely to be moderate for X-ray selected AGN and the X-ray background (~1-2). We finally outline how all-sky X-ray maps at hard X-rays and medium surveys with large sky coverage could provide important tests for the cosmological models.Comment: Invited review presented at the Workshop X-ray Astronomy'99: Stellar endpoints, AGN and the diffuse X-ray background (Astrophys Lett and Comm

    RETRASO, a code for modeling reactive transport in saturated and unsaturated porous media

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    The code RETRASO (REactive TRAnsport of SOlutes) simulates reactive transport of dissolved and gaseous species in non-isothermal saturated or unsaturated problems. Possible chemical reactions include aqueous complexation (including redox reactions), sorption, precipitation-dissolution of minerals and gas dissolution. Various models for sorption of solutes on solids are available, from experimental relationships (linear KD, Freundlich and Langmuir isotherms) to cation exchange and surface complexation models (constant capacitance, diffuse layer and triple layer models). Precipitation-dissolution and aqueous complexation can be modelled in equilibrium or according to kinetic laws. For the numerical solution of the reactive transport equations it uses the Direct Substitution Approach. The use of the code is demonstrated by three examples. The first example models various sorption processes in a smectite barrier. The second example models a complex chemical system in a two dimensional cross-section. The last example models pyrite weathering in an unsaturated medium

    Relativistic reflection in the average X-ray spectrum of AGN in the V\'eron-Cetty & V\'eron catalogue

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    The X-ray spectra of active galactic nuclei (AGN) unveil properties of matter around the super massive black hole (SMBH). We investigate the X-ray spectra of AGN focusing on Compton reflection and fluorescence, important processes of interaction between primary radiation and circum-nuclear material. Unresolved emission lines (most notably the Fe line) in the X-ray spectra of AGN indicate that this material is located far away from the SMBH. Contributions from the inner accretion disk, affected by relativistic effects, have also been detected in several cases. We studied the average X-ray spectrum of a sample of 263 X-ray unabsorbed AGN that yield 419023 counts in the 2-12 keV rest-frame band distributed among 388 XMM-Newton spectra. We fitted the average spectrum using a (basically) unabsorbed power law (primary radiation). From second model that represents the interaction of the primary radiation with matter located far away from the SMBH, we found that it was very significantly detected. Finally, we added a contribution from interaction with neutral material in the accretion disk close to the central SMBH, which is therefore smeared by relativistic effects, which improved the fit at 6 sigma. The reflection factors are 0.65 for the accretion disk and 0.25 for the torus. Replacing the neutral disk-reflection with low-ionisation disk reflection, also relativistically smeared, fits the data equally well, suggesting that we do not find evidence for a significant ionisation of the accretion disk. We detect distant neutral reflection in the average spectrum of unabsorbed AGN with z=0.8. Adding the disk-reflection component associated with a relativistic Fe line improves the data description at 6 sigma confidence level, suggesting that both reflection components are present. The disk-reflection component accounts for about 70 % of the total reflected flux.Comment: Accepted by A&A. 10 pages, 7 figure

    An improved method of constructing binned luminosity functions

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    We show that binned differential luminosity functions constructed using the 1/Va method have a significant systematic error for objects close to their parent sample's flux limit(s). This is particularly noticeable when luminosity functions are produced for a number of different redshift ranges as is common in the study of AGN or galaxy evolution. We present a simple method of constructing a binned luminosity function which overcomes this problem and has a number of other advantages over the traditional 1/Va method. We also describe a practical method for comparing binned and model luminosity functions, by calculating the expectation values of the binned luminosity function from the model. Binned luminosity functions produced by the two methods are compared for simulated data and for the Large Bright QSO Survey (LBQS). It is shown that the 1/Va method produces a very misleading picture of evolution in the LBQS. The binned luminosity function of the LBQS is then compared to a model two power law luminosity function undergoing pure luminosity evolution from Boyle et al. (1991). The comparison is made using a model luminosity function averaged over each redshift shell, and using the expectation values for the binned luminosity function calculated from the model. The luminosity function averaged in each redshift shell gives a misleading impression that the model over predicts the number of QSOs at low luminosity even when model and data are consistent. The expectation values show that there are significant differences between model and data: the model overpredicts the number of low luminosity sources at both low and high redshift. The luminosity function does not appear to steepen relative to the model as redshift increases
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