X-ray Background (x-ray + background)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

The XMM-SSC survey of hard-spectrum XMM,Newton sources , I. Optically bright sources

M. J. Page
ABSTRACT We present optical and X-ray data for a sample of serendipitous XMM,Newton sources that are selected to have 0.5,2 versus 2,4.5 keV X-ray hardness ratios which are harder than the X-ray background. The sources have 2,4.5 keV X-ray flux ,10,14 erg cm,2 s,1, and in this paper we examine a subsample of 42 optically bright (r < 21) sources; this subsample is 100 per cent spectroscopically identified. All but one of the optical counterparts are extragalactic, and we argue that the single exception, a Galactic M star, is probably a coincidental association rather than the correct identification of the X-ray source. The X-ray spectra of all the sources are consistent with heavily absorbed power laws (21.8 < log NH < 23.4), and all of them, including the two sources with 2,10 keV intrinsic luminosities of <1042 erg s,1, appear to be absorbed active galactic nuclei (AGN). The majority of the sources show only narrow emission lines in their optical spectra, implying that they are type 2 AGN. Three sources have 2,10 keV luminosities of >1044 erg s,1, and two of these sources have optical spectra which are dominated by narrow emission lines, that is, are type 2 QSOs. Only a small fraction of the sources (7/42) show broad optical emission lines, and all of these have NH < 1023 cm,2. This implies that ratios of X-ray absorption to optical/ultraviolet extinction equivalent to >100 times the Galactic gas-to-dust ratio are rare in AGN absorbers (at most a few per cent of the population), and may be restricted to broad absorption line QSOs. Seven objects appear to have an additional soft X-ray component in addition to the heavily absorbed power law; all seven are narrow emission-line objects with z < 0.3 and 2,10 keV intrinsic luminosities <1043 erg s,1. We consider the implications of our results in the light of the AGN unified scheme. We find that the soft components in narrow-line objects are consistent with the unified scheme provided that >4 per cent of broad-line AGN (BLAGN) have ionized absorbers that attenuate their soft X-ray flux by >50 per cent. In at least one of the X-ray-absorbed BLAGN in our sample the X-ray spectrum requires an ionized absorber, consistent with this picture. [source]

Hard X-ray emission of the Earth's atmosphere: Monte Carlo simulations

S. Sazonov
ABSTRACT We perform Monte Carlo simulations of cosmic ray-induced hard X-ray radiation from the Earth's atmosphere. We find that the shape of the spectrum emergent from the atmosphere in the energy range 25,300 keV is mainly determined by Compton scatterings and photoabsorption, and is almost insensitive to the incident cosmic ray spectrum. We provide a fitting formula for the hard X-ray surface brightness of the atmosphere as would be measured by a satellite-borne instrument, as a function of energy, solar modulation level, geomagnetic cut-off rigidity and zenith angle. A recent measurement by the INTEGRAL observatory of the atmospheric hard X-ray flux during the occultation of the cosmic X-ray background by the Earth agrees with our prediction within 10 per cent. This suggests that Earth observations could be used for in-orbit calibration of future hard X-ray telescopes. We also demonstrate that the hard X-ray spectra generated by cosmic rays in the crusts of the Moon, Mars and Mercury should be significantly different from that emitted by the Earth's atmosphere. [source]

The XMM,Newton Needles in the Haystack Survey: the local X-ray luminosity function of ,normal' galaxies

I. Georgantopoulos
ABSTRACT In this paper we estimate the local (z < 0.22) X-ray luminosity function of ,normal' galaxies derived from the XMM,Newton Needles in the Haystack Survey. This is an on-going project that aims to identify X-ray-selected normal galaxies (i.e. non-AGN dominated) in the local Universe. We are using a total of 70 XMM,Newton fields covering an area of 11 deg2 which overlap with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 2. Normal galaxies are selected on the basis of their resolved optical light profile, their low X-ray-to-optical flux ratio [log (fx/fo) < , 2] and soft X-ray colours. We find a total of 28 candidate normal galaxies to the 0.5,8 keV band flux limit of ,2 10,15 erg cm,2 s,1. Optical spectra are available for most sources in our sample (82 per cent). These provide additional evidence that our sources are bona fide normal galaxies with X-ray emission coming from diffuse hot gas emission and/or X-ray binaries rather than a supermassive black hole. 16 of our galaxies have narrow emission lines or a late-type spectral energy distribution (SED) while the remaining 12 present only absorption lines or an early-type SED. Combining our XMM,Newton sample with 18 local (z < 0.22) galaxies from the Chandra Deep Field North and South surveys, we construct the local X-ray luminosity function of normal galaxies. This can be represented with a Schechter form with a break at L,, 3+1.4,1.0 1041 erg s,1 and a slope of ,, 1.78 0.12. Using this luminosity function and assuming pure luminosity evolution of the form ,(1 +z)3.3 we estimate a contribution to the X-ray background from normal galaxies of ,10,20 per cent (0.5,8 keV). Finally, we derive, for the first time, the luminosity functions for early- and late-type systems separately. [source]

A deep Chandra survey of the Groth Strip , I. The X-ray data

K. Nandra
ABSTRACT We present the results of a 200-ks Chandra observation of part of the Groth Strip region, using the ACIS-I instrument. We present a relatively simple method for the detection of point sources and calculation of limiting sensitivities, which we argue is at least as sensitive and more self-consistent than previous methods presented in the literature. A total of 158 distinct X-ray sources are included in our point-source catalogue in the ACIS-I area. The number counts show a relative dearth of X-ray sources in this region. For example, at a flux limit of 10,15 erg cm,2 s,1, around 20 per cent more soft-band sources are detected in the HDF-N and almost 50 per cent more in the ELAIS-N1 field, which we have analysed by the same method for comparison. We find, however, that these differences are consistent with Poisson variations at <2, significance, and therefore there is no evidence for cosmic variance based on these number counts alone. We determine the average spectra of the objects and find a marked difference between the soft-band-selected sources, which have ,= 1.9 typical of unobscured active galactic nuclei (AGN), and the hard-band-selected sources, which have ,= 1.0. Reassuringly, the sample as a whole has a mean spectrum of ,= 1.4 0.1, the same as the X-ray background. None the less, our results imply that the fraction of sources with significant obscuration is only ,25 per cent, much less than predicted by standard AGN population synthesis models. This is confirmed by direct spectral fitting, with only a handful of objects showing evidence for absorption. After accounting for absorption, all objects are consistent with a mean intrinsic spectrum of ,= 1.76 0.08, very similar to local Seyfert galaxies. The survey area is distinguished by having outstanding multiwaveband coverage. Comparison with these observations and detailed discussion of the X-ray source properties will be presented in future papers. [source]

Stellar contributors to the hard X-ray background?

Priyamvada Natarajan
We use simple energetic arguments to estimate the contribution of massive X-ray binaries and supernova remnants to the cosmic X-ray background (XRB) at energies in excess of 2 keV. Recent surveys have shown that active galactic nuclei (AGN) probably account for most of the hard XRB (E>2 keV), but there have been many suggestions that star-forming galaxies could emerge at fainter fluxes and perhaps account for a significant fraction of the soft and hard X-ray energy density. Assuming that the formation rate of massive X-ray binaries (MXRBs) traces the global star-formation rate, we find that their integrated contribution to the hard XRB can be estimated and is shown to be small (at less than the 1 per cent level). Similarly, the integrated flux of supernovae (SN) is also shown to be insignificant, or at most comparable to MXRBs. AGN therefore remain the most viable candidates for producing the hard XRB, unless additional processes can be shown to dominate the global hard X-ray emission in distant starburst galaxies. [source]

Resolving the source populations that contribute to the X-ray background: The 2 Ms Chandra Deep Field-North Survey

D. M. Alexander
Abstract With , 2 Ms of exposure, the Chandra Deep Field-North (CDF-N) survey provides the deepest view of the Universe in the 0.5,8.0 keV band. Five hundred and three (503) X-ray sources are detected down to on-axis 0.5,2.0 keV and 2,8 keV flux limits of , 1.5 10,17 erg cm,2 s,1 and , 1.0 10,16 erg cm,2 s,1, respectively. These flux limits correspond to L0.5,8.0 keV, 3 1041 erg s,1 at z = 1 and L0.5,8.0 keV, 2 1043 erg s,1 at z = 6; thus this survey is sensitive enough to detect starburst galaxies out to moderate redshift and Seyfert galaxies out to high redshift. We present the X-ray observations, describe the broad diversity of X-ray selected sources, and review the prospects for deeper exposures. [source]

The weak outnumbering the mighty: normal galaxies in deep Chandra surveys

A. E. Hornschemeier
Abstract Chandra is detecting a significant population of normal and starburst galaxies in extremely deep X-ray exposures. For example, approximately 15% of the sources arising in the 2 Ms Chandra Deep Field-North survey are fairly normal galaxies, where "normal" means "Milky Way-type" X-ray emission rather than simply exhibiting an "optically normal" spectrum. Many of these galaxies are being detected at large look-back times (z , 0.1,0.5), allowing the study of the evolution of X-ray binary populations over significant cosmological timescales. We are also detecting individual off-nuclear ultraluminous X-ray sources (e.g., X-ray binaries), providing the first direct constraints on the prevalence of lower-mass black holes at significantly earlier times. The X-ray emission from such "normal" galaxies may also be a useful star-formation rate indicator, based on radio/X-ray cross-identifications. We describe the contribution of normal galaxies to the populations which make up the X-ray background and present their directly measured X-ray number counts. We find that normal and starburst galaxies should dominate the 0.5,2 keV number counts at X-ray fluxes fainter than , 7 10,18 erg cm,2 s,1 (thus they will outnumber the "mighty" AGN). Finally, we look to the future, suggesting that it is important that the population of X-ray faint normal and starburst galaxies be well constrained in order to design the next generation of X-ray observatories. [source]

HI , the window to the early universe in X-rays

J. Kerp
Abstract A detailed understanding of the soft X-ray background (SXRB) is of high importance for the next generation of X-ray telescopes, which will focus on early universe objects. Because of their high redshift the characteristic X-ray emission of the early universe objects will be observable in the soft X-ray energy domain below E = 1 keV. In this energy regime the photoelectric absorption of the galactic interstellar medium attenuates the X-ray emission most strongly. The confusion with the spatially highly variable galactic soft X-ray emission might be an additional severe problem to disentangle the emission of the early universe object and the SXRB. We present the cross correlation of the Leiden/Dwingeloo HI 21-cm line survey with the ROSAT all-sky survey. The analyses disclose the existence of a single temperature plasma within the Milky Way halo. The strength of the photoelectric absorption is quantitatively traced by the distribution of the HI emission across the whole sky. Both findings in combination open the window to the highly redshift early universe objects. [source]

Optical and near-infrared observations of hard serendipitous Chandra sources

C.S. Crawford
Abstract We have been carrying out a successful observational programme targeted at finding the highly obscured quasars that are thought to be the main contributors to the hard X-ray background. Out of 56 sources so far studied with optical and near-infrared imaging and spectroscopy, we have found three definite and a further twelve possible Type II quasars. Few sources show significant line emission, suggesting that the line photons are depleted by the large columns of obscuring matter. The redshift distribution of our sources shows a distinct peak at z , 1. The broad-band colours and magnitudes of the optical/near-infrared counterparts indicate that the light in these bands is dominated by the continuum of a massive bright galaxy. [source]