Spectroscopic evidence of charge exchange X-ray emission from galaxies

Q. DanielWang (1) & Jiren Liu (2) ((1) University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA; (2) National Astronomical Observatories, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China)

What are the origins of the soft X-ray line emission from non-AGN galaxies? XMM-Newton RGS spectra of nearby non-AGN galaxies (including starforming ones: M82, NGC 253, M51, M83, M61, NGC 4631, M94, NGC 2903, and the Antennae galaxies, as well as the inner bulge of M31) have been analyzed. In particular, the Kα triplet of O VII shows that the resonance line is typically weaker than the forbidden and/or inter-combination lines. This suggests that a substantial fraction of the emission may not arise directly from optically thin thermal plasma, as commonly assumed, and may instead originate at its interface with neutral gas via charge exchange. This latter origin naturally explains the observed spatial correlation of the emission with various tracers of cool gas in some of the galaxies. However, alternative scenarios, such as the resonance scattering by the plasma and the relic photo-ionization by AGNs in the recent past, cannot be ruled out, at least in some cases, and are being examined. Such X-ray spectroscopic studies are important to the understanding of the relationship of the emission to various high-energy feedback processes in galaxies.

Complete preprint ===> http://arxiv.org/pdf/1204.3356v1.pdf

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