776 research outputs found

    CHANDRA Observations of the X-ray Halo around the Crab Nebula

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    Two Chandra observations have been used to search for thermal X-ray emission from within and around the Crab Nebula. Dead-time was minimized by excluding the brightest part of the Nebula from the field of view. A dust-scattered halo comprising 5% of the strength of the Crab is clearly detected with surface brightness measured out to a radial distance of 18 arcminutes. Coverage is 100% at 4 arcminutes, 50% at 12 arcminutes, and 25% at 18 arcminutes. The observed halo is compared with predictions based on 3 different interstellar grain models and one can be adjusted to fit the observation. This dust halo and mirror scattering form a high background region which has been searched for emission from shock-heated material in an outer shell. We find no evidence for such emission. We can set upper limits a factor of 10-1000 less than the surface brightness observed from outer shells around similar remnants. The upper limit for X-ray luminosity of an outer shell is about 10e34 erg/s. Although it is possible to reconcile our observation with an 8-13 solar mass progenitor, we argue that this is unlikely.Comment: 26 pages, 12 figures, accepted by Ap

    A New X-Ray Flare from the Galactic Nucleus Detected with the XMM-Newton Photon Imaging Cameras

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    Sgr A*, the compact radio source, believed to be the counterpart of the massive black hole at the galactic nucleus, was observed to undergo rapid and intense flaring activity in X-rays with Chandra in October 2000. We report here the detection with XMM-Newton EPIC cameras of the early phase of a similar X-ray flare from this source, which occurred on September 4, 2001. The source 2-10 keV luminosity increased by a factor about 20 to reach a level of 4 10^{34} erg s^{-1} in a time interval of about 900 s, just before the end of the observation. The data indicate that the source spectrum was hard during the flare. This XMM-Newton observation confirms the results obtained by Chandra and suggests that, in Sgr A*, rapid and intense X-ray flaring is not a rare event. This can constrain the emission mechanism models proposed for this source, and also implies that the crucial multiwavelength observation programs planned to explore the behaviour of the radio/sub-mm and hard X-ray/gamma-ray emissions during the X-ray flares, have a good chance of success.Comment: 18 pages, 6 color figures, final version, accepted on October 24, 2002, to appear in ApJ, v584 n2 ApJ February 20, 2003 issu

    A Deep Infrared Search for AXP 1E 1841-045

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    Multi-colour (JHKs) imaging and photometry of the field of the Anomalous X-ray Pulsar AXP 1E 1841-045 is analysed in the light of new, accurate coordinates from Chandra (Wachter et al, 2004). From excellentquality images, we find multiple sources in and around the position error circle. Of these, none can be confidently identified as the infrared counterpart. The limiting magnitudes reached were J=22.1, H=20.7 and Ks=19.9$ (95% confidence).Comment: 8 pages LaTeX, 2 eps figures; ApJ accepte

    Fe Ka line emission from the Arches cluster region - evidence for ongoing particle bombardment?

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    We present the results of eight years of XMM-Newton observations of the region surrounding the Arches cluster in the Galactic Center. We study the spatial distribution and temporal behaviour of the Fe-Ka line emission with the objective of identifying the likely source of the excitation. We investigate the variability of the 6.4-keV line emission of four clouds through spectral fitting of the EPIC MOS data with the use of a modelled background, which avoids many of the systematics inherent in local background subtraction. We also employ spectral stacking of both EPIC PN and MOS data to search for evidence of an Fe-K edge feature imprinted on the underlying X-ray continuum. The lightcurves of the Fe-Ka line from three bright molecular knots close to the Arches cluster are found to be constant over the 8-year observation window. West of the cluster, however, we found a bright cloud exhibiting the fastest Fe-Ka variability yet seen in a molecular cloud in the Galactic Center region. The time-averaged spectra of the molecular clouds reveal no convincing evidence of the 7.1-keV edge feature. The EW of the 6.4-keV line emitted by the clouds near the cluster is found to be ~1.0 keV. The observed Fe-Ka line flux and the high EW suggest the fluorescence has a photoionization origin, although excitation by cosmic-ray particles is not specifically excluded. For the three clouds nearest to the cluster, an identification of the source of photo-ionizing photons with an earlier outburst of Sgr A* is however at best tentative. The hardness of the nonthermal component associated with the 6.4-keV line emission might be best explained in terms of bombardment by cosmic-ray particles from the Arches cluster itself. The relatively short-timescale variability seen in the 6.4-keV line emission from the cloud to the West of the cluster is most likely the result of illumination by a nearby transient X-ray source.Comment: 13 pages, 6 figures, accepted for publication in Astronomy and Astrophysic

    Distance Determination of Variable Galactic Sources

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    We have developed a timing analysis method to determine the distances of variable galactic X-ray sources based on the method advanced by Tr\"{u}mper and Sch\"{o}nfelder in 1973. The light-curve of the halo produced by the scattering of X-rays off the interstellar dust is delayed and smeared by the dust grains. This method utilizes the differences between the power density spectra of the point source and the halo. We present the details of this method and our first applications of this method to the Chandra data of X-ray binary Cyg X-3.Comment: 5 page and 3 figure, The 6th pacific rim conference on steller astrophysics -- a tribute to Helmut A. Ab

    Echo Emission From Dust Scattering and X-Ray Afterglows of Gamma-Ray Bursts

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    We investigate the effect of X-ray echo emission in gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). We find that the echo emission can provide an alternative way of understanding X-ray shallow decays and jet breaks. In particular, a shallow decay followed by a "normal" decay and a further rapid decay of X-ray afterglows can be together explained as being due to the echo from prompt X-ray emission scattered by dust grains in a massive wind bubble around a GRB progenitor. We also introduce an extra temporal break in the X-ray echo emission. By fitting the afterglow light curves, we can measure the locations of the massive wind bubbles, which will bring us closer to finding the mass loss rate, wind velocity, and the age of the progenitors prior to the GRB explosions.Comment: 25 pages, 3 figures, 2 tables. Accepted for publication in Ap

    The Broad-Band Spectrum and Infrared Variability of the Magnetar AXP 1E1048.1-5937

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    We present photometry of the Anomalous X-ray pulsar 1E1048.1-5937 in the infrared and optical, taken at Magellan and the VLT. The object is detected in the I, J and Ks bands under excellent conditions. We find that the source has varied greatly in its infrared brightness and present these new magnitudes. No correlation is found between the infrared flux and spin-down rate, but the infrared flux and X-ray flux may be anti-correlated. Assuming nominal reddening values, the resultant spectral energy distribution is found to be inconsistent with the only other AXP SED available (for 4U0142+61). We consider the effect of the uncertainty in the reddening to the source on its SED. We find that although both the X-ray and infrared fluxes have varied greatly for this source, the most recent flux ratio is remarkably consistent with what is is found for other AXPs. Finally, we discuss the implications of our findings in the context of the magnetar model.Comment: 21 pages, 5 eps figures. Submitted to Ap

    A Search for Fallback Disks in Four Young Supernova Remnants

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    We report on our search for the optical/infrared counterparts to the central compact objects in four young supernova remnants: Pup A, PKS 1209-52, RCW 103, and Cas A. The X-ray point sources in these supernova remnants are excellent targets for probing the existence of supernova fallback disks, since irradiation of a disk by a central X-ray source should lead to an infrared excess. We used ground-based optical and near-infrared imaging and Spitzer Space Telescope mid-infrared imaging to search for optical/infrared counterparts at the X-ray point source positions measured by the Chandra X-Ray Observatory. We did not detect any counterparts, and hence find no evidence for fallback disks around any of these sources. In PKS 1209-52, we are able to exclude a nearby optical/infrared candidate counterpart. In RCW 103, a blend of 3 faint stars at the X-ray source position prevents us from deriving useful limits. For the other targets, the upper limits on the infrared/X-ray flux ratio are as deep as (1.0--1.7)×10−4\times 10^{-4}. Comparing these limits to the ratio of ≈6×10−5\approx 6\times10^{-5} measured for 4U 0142+61 (a young pulsar recently found with an X-ray irradiated dust disk), we conclude that the non-detection of any disks around young neutron stars studied here are consistent with their relatively low X-ray luminosities, although we note that a similar dust disk around the neutron star in Pup A should be detectable by deeper infrared observations.Comment: 9 pages, 5 figures, revised to address referee's comments, and accepted for publication in Ap

    XMM-Newton observation of the brightest X-ray flare detected so far from SgrA*

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    We report the high S/N observation on October 3, 2002 with XMM-Newton of the brightest X-ray flare detected so far from SgrA* with a duration shorter than one hour (~ 2.7 ks). The light curve is almost symmetrical with respect to the peak flare, and no significant difference between the soft and hard X-ray range is detected. The overall flare spectrum is well represented by an absorbed power-law with a soft photon spectral index of Gamma=2.5+/-0.3, and a peak 2-10 keV luminosity of 3.6 (+0.3-0.4) x 10^35 erg/s, i.e. a factor 160 higher than the Sgr A* quiescent value. No significant spectral change during the flare is observed. This X-ray flare is very different from other bright flares reported so far: it is much brighter and softer. The present accurate determination of the flare characteristics challenge the current interpretation of the physical processes occuring inside the very close environment of SgrA* by bringing very strong constraints for the theoretical flare models.Comment: Accepted for publication in A&A Letters. 4 pages, 2 figures, 1 table