760 research outputs found

    The evolution of obscured accretion

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    Our current understanding of the evolution of obscured accretion onto supermassive black holes is reviewed. We consider the literature results on the relation between the fraction of moderately obscured, Compton-thin AGN and redshift, and discuss the biases which possibly affect the various measurements. Then, we discuss a number of methods - from ultradeep X-ray observations to the detection of high-ionization optical emission lines - to select the population of the most heavily obscured, Compton-thick AGN, whose cosmological evolution is basically unknown. The space density of heavily obscured AGN measured through different techniques is discussed and compared with the predictions by current synthesis models of the X-ray background. Preliminary results from the first half of the 3 Ms XMM observation of the Chandra Deep Field South (CDFS) are also presented. The prospects for population studies of heavily obscured AGN with future planned or proposed X-ray missions are finally discussed.Comment: 6 pages, 2 figures. Invited talk at 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)

    A deep X-ray observation of M82 with XMM-Newton

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    We report on the analysis of a deep (100 ks) observation of the starburst galaxy M82 with the EPIC and RGS instruments on board the X-ray telescope XMM-Newton. The broad-band (0.5-10 keV) emission is due to at least three spectral components: i) continuum emission from point sources; ii) thermal plasma emission from hot gas; iii) charge exchange emission from neutral metals (Mg and Si). The plasma emission has a double-peaked differential emission measure, with the peaks at ~0.5 keV and ~7 keV. Spatially resolved spectroscopy has shown that the chemical absolute abundances are not uniformly distributed in the outflow, but are larger in the outskirts and smaller close to the galaxy centre. The abundance ratios also show spatial variations. The X-ray derived Oxygen abundance is lower than that measured in the atmospheres of red supergiant stars, leading to the hypothesis that a significant fraction of Oxygen ions have already cooled off and no longer emit at energies > ~0.5 keV.Comment: Accepted for publication in MNRAS. 20 pages, 15 figures, LaTeX2

    Compton Thick AGN in the 70 Month Swift-BAT All-Sky Hard X-ray Survey: a Bayesian approach

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    The 70-month Swift/BAT catalogue provides a sensitive view of the extragalactic X-ray sky at hard energies (>10 keV) containing about 800 Active Galactic Nuclei. We explore its content in heavily obscured, Compton-thick AGN by combining the BAT (14-195 keV) with the lower energy XRT (0.3-10 keV) data. We apply a Bayesian methodology using Markov chains to estimate the exact probability distribution of the column density for each source. We find 53 possible Compton-thick sources (with probability 3 to 100%) translating to a ~7% fraction of the AGN in our sample. We derive the first parametric luminosity function of Compton-thick AGN. The unabsorbed luminosity function can be represented by a double power-law with a break at L⋆2×1042L_{\star} 2 \times 10^{42} ergs s−1\rm ergs~s^{-1} in the 20-40 keV band.Comment: 13 pages, 9 figure

    Costellazione Manga: explaining astronomy using Japanese comics and animation

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    Comics and animation are intensely engaging and can be successfully used to communicate science to the public. They appear to stimulate many aspects of the learning process and can help with the development of links between ideas. Given these pedagogical premises, we conducted a project called Costellazione Manga, in which we considered astronomical concepts present in several manga and anime (Japanese comics and animations) and highlighted the physics behind them. These references to astronomy allowed us to introduce interesting topics of modern astrophysics and communicate astronomy-related concepts to a large spectrum of people. In this paper, we describe the methodology and techniques that we developed and discuss the results of our project. Depending on the comic or anime considered, we can introducegeneral topics such as the difference between stars, planets and galaxies or ideas such as the possibility of nding life onother planets, the latest discoveries of Earth-like planets orbiting other stars or the detection of complex organic molecules in the interstellar space. When presenting the night sky and the shapes of constellations, we can also describe how the same stars are perceived and grouped by different cultures. The project outcomes indicate that Costellazione Manga is a powerful tool to popularise astronomy and stimulate important aspects of learning development, such as curiosity and critical thinking. We show through our experience that Costellazione Manga has attracted a broader and more diverse public than traditional planetarium activities and astronomy lectures

    The high-redshift Universe with the International X-ray Observatory

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    We discuss some of the main open issues related to the light-up and evolution of the first accreting sources powering high redshift luminous quasars. We discuss the perspectives of future deep X-ray surveys with the International X-ray Observatory and possible synergies with the Wide Field X-ray Telescope.Comment: 6 pages, 6 figures. Proceedings of "The Wide Field X-ray Telescope Workshop", held in Bologna, Italy, Nov. 25-26 2009. To appear in Memorie della Societ\`a Astronomica Italiana 2010 (arXiv:1010.5889

    Probing BH mass and accretion through X-ray variability in the CDFS

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    Recent work on nearby AGNs has shown that X-ray variability is correlated with the mass and accretion rate onto the central SMBH. Here we present the application of the variability-luminosity relation to high redshift AGNs in the CDFS, making use of XMM-Newton observations. We use Monte Carlo simulations in order to properly account for bias and uncertainties introduced by the sparse sampling and the very low statistics. Our preliminary results indicate that BH masses span over the range from 10^5 to 10^9 solar mass while accretion rates range from 10^-3 up to values greater than 1, in unit of Eddington accretion rate.Comment: 2 pages, 2 figures,in press in the X-ray 2009 Conference Proceedings (Bologna, 7-11 September 2009

    The 2-10 keV luminosity as a Star Formation Rate indicator

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    Radio and far infrared luminosities of star-forming galaxies follow a tight linear relation. Making use of ASCA and BeppoSAX observations of a well-defined sample of nearby star-forming galaxies, we argue that tight linear relations hold between the X-ray, radio and far infrared luminosities. The effect of intrinsic absorption is investigated taking NGC3256 as a test case. It is suggested that the hard X-ray emission is directly related to the Star Formation Rate. Star formation processes may also account for most of the 2-10 keV emission from LLAGNs of lower X-ray luminosities (for the same FIR and radio luminosity). Deep Chandra observations of a sample of radio-selected star-forming galaxies in the Hubble Deep Field North show that the same relation holds also at high (0.2< z< 1.3) redshift. The X-ray/radio relations also allow a derivation of X-ray number counts up to very faint fluxes from the radio Log N-Log S, which is consistent with current limits and models. Thus the contribution of star-forming galaxies to the X-ray background can be estimated
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