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  1. ABSTRACT

    We present the deepest Chandra observation to date of the galaxy M84 in the Virgo Cluster, with over 840 ks of data provided by legacy observations and a recent 730 ks campaign. The increased signal-to-noise ratio allows us to study the origins of the accretion flow feeding the supermassive black hole in the centre of M84 from the kiloparsec scales of the X-ray halo to the Bondi radius, RB. Temperature, metallicity, and deprojected density profiles are obtained in four sectors about M84’s active galactic nucleus (AGN), extending into the Bondi radius. Rather than being dictated by the potential of the black hole, the accretion flow is strongly influenced by the AGN’s bipolar radio jets. Along the jet axis, the density profile is consistent with ne ∝ r−1; however, the profiles flatten perpendicular to the jet. Radio jets produce a significant asymmetry in the flow, violating a key assumption of Bondi accretion. Temperature in the inner kiloparsec is approximately constant, with only a slight increase from 0.6 to 0.7 keV approaching RB, and there is no evidence for a temperature rise imposed by the black hole. The Bondi accretion rate $\dot{M}_{\rm B}$ exceeds the rate inferred from AGN luminosity and jet power by over four orders of magnitude. In sectors perpendicular to the jet, $\dot{M}_{\rm B}$ measurements agree; however, the accretion rate is >4σ lower in the North sector along the jet, likely due to cavities in the X-ray gas. Our measurements provide unique insight into the fuelling of AGN responsible for radio mode feedback in galaxy clusters.

     
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  2. ABSTRACT

    Radiation pressure-driven outflows from luminous accreting supermassive black holes are an important part of active galactic nucleus (AGN) feedback. The effective Eddington limit, based on absorption of radiation by dust, not electron scattering, is revealed in the plane of AGN absorption column density NH as a function of Eddington fraction λEdd = Lbol/LEdd, where a lack of objects is seen in the region where the effective limit is exceeded. Here, we conduct radiation simulation using the cloudy code to deduce the radiative force applied on to dusty gas at the nucleus and compare to the gravitational force to reveal the outflow region and its boundary with long-lived absorption clouds. We also investigate how the outflow condition is affected by various AGN and dust properties and distribution. As expected, the dust abundance has the largest effect on the NH–λEdd diagram since the higher the abundance, the more effective the radiative feedback, while the impact of the inner radius of the dusty gas shell, the shell width, and the AGN spectral shape are relatively negligible. The presence of other central masses, such as a nuclear star cluster, can also make the feedback less effective. The AGN spectral energy distribution depends on the mass of the black hole and its spin. Though the effects of the AGN spectral energy distribution on the diagram are relatively small, the fraction of ionizing ultraviolet photons from the blackbody accretion disc is affected more by black hole mass than spin, and can influence the efficiency of radiation pressure.

     
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  3. Abstract We present a spectral analysis of NuSTAR and NICER observations of the luminous, persistently accreting neutron star (NS) low-mass X-ray binary Cygnus X-2. The data were divided into different branches that the source traces out on the Z-track of the X-ray color–color diagram; namely, the horizontal branch, the normal branch, and the vertex between the two. The X-ray continuum spectrum was modeled in two different ways that produced comparable quality fits. The spectra showed clear evidence of a reflection component in the form of a broadened Fe K line, as well as a lower-energy emission feature near 1 keV likely due to an ionized plasma located far from the innermost accretion disk. We account for the reflection spectrum with two independent models ( relxillns and rdblur*rfxconv ). The inferred inclination is in agreement with earlier estimates from optical observations of ellipsoidal lightcurve modeling ( relxillns : i = 67° ± 4°; rdblur*rfxconv : i = 60° ± 10°). The inner disk radius remains close to the NS ( R in ≤ 1.15 R ISCO ) regardless of the source position along the Z-track or how the 1 keV feature is modeled. Given the optically determined NS mass of 1.71 ± 0.21 M ⊙ , this corresponds to a conservative upper limit of R in ≤ 19.5 km for M = 1.92 M ⊙ or R in ≤ 15.3 km for M = 1.5 M ⊙ . We compare these radius constraints to those obtained from NS gravitational wave merger events and recent NICER pulsar lightcurve modeling measurements. 
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  4. Abstract

    Molecular emission was imaged with ALMA from numerous components near and within bright H2-emitting knots and absorbing dust globules in the Crab Nebula. These observations provide a critical test of how energetic photons and particles produced in a young supernova remnant interact with gas, cleanly differentiating between competing models. The four fields targeted show contrasting properties but within them, seventeen distinct molecular clouds are identified with CO emission; a few also show emission from HCO+, SiO, and/or SO. These observations are compared with Cloudy models of these knots. It has been suggested that the Crab filaments present an exotic environment in which H2emission comes from a mostly neutral zone probably heated by cosmic rays produced in the supernova surrounding a cool core of molecular gas. Our model is consistent with the observed COJ= 3 − 2 line strength. These molecular line emitting knots in the Crab Nebula present a novel phase of the ISM representative of many important astrophysical environments.

     
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  5. null (Ed.)
    Context. The excitation of the filamentary gas structures surrounding giant elliptical galaxies at the center of cool-core clusters, also known as brightest cluster galaxies (BCGs), is key to our understanding of active galactic nucleus (AGN) feedback, and of the impact of environmental and local effects on star formation. Aims. We investigate the contribution of thermal radiation from the cooling flow surrounding BCGs to the excitation of the filaments. We explore the effects of small levels of extra heating (turbulence), and of metallicity, on the optical and infrared lines. Methods. Using the C LOUDY code, we modeled the photoionization and photodissociation of a slab of gas of optical depth A V  ≤ 30 mag at constant pressure in order to calculate self-consistently all of the gas phases, from ionized gas to molecular gas. The ionizing source is the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) and soft X-ray radiation emitted by the cooling gas. We tested these models comparing their predictions to the rich multi-wavelength observations from optical to submillimeter, now achieved in cool core clusters. Results. Such models of self-irradiated clouds, when reaching sufficiently large A V , lead to a cloud structure with ionized, atomic, and molecular gas phases. These models reproduce most of the multi-wavelength spectra observed in the nebulae surrounding the BCGs, not only the low-ionization nuclear emission region like optical diagnostics, [O  III ] λ 5007 Å/H β , [N  II ] λ 6583 Å/H α , and ([S  II ] λ 6716 Å+[S  II ] λ 6731 Å)/H α , but also the infrared emission lines from the atomic gas. [O  I ] λ 6300 Å/H α , instead, is overestimated across the full parameter space, except for very low A V . The modeled ro-vibrational H 2 lines also match observations, which indicates that near- and mid-infrared H 2 lines are mostly excited by collisions between H 2 molecules and secondary electrons produced naturally inside the cloud by the interaction between the X-rays and the cold gas in the filament. However, there is still some tension between ionized and molecular line tracers (i.e., CO), which requires optimization of the cloud structure and the density of the molecular zone. The limited range of parameters over which predictions match observations allows us to constrain, in spite of degeneracies in the parameter space, the intensity of X-ray radiation bathing filaments, as well as some of their physical properties like A V or the level of turbulent heating rate. Conclusions. The reprocessing of the EUV and X-ray radiation from the plasma cooling is an important powering source of line emission from filaments surrounding BCGs. C LOUDY self-irradiated X-ray excitation models coupled with a small level of turbulent heating manage to simultaneously reproduce a large number of optical-to-infrared line ratios when all the gas phases (from ionized to molecular) are modeled self-consistently. Releasing some of the simplifications of our model, like the constant pressure, or adding the radiation fields from the AGN and stars, as well as a combination of matter- and radiation-bounded cloud distribution, should improve the predictions of line emission from the different gas phases. 
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  6. null (Ed.)
  7. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT We present the first high-resolution 230–470 MHz map of the Perseus cluster obtained with the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array. The high dynamic range and resolution achieved have allowed the identification of previously unknown structures in this nearby galaxy cluster. New hints of sub-structures appear in the inner radio lobes of the brightest cluster galaxy NGC 1275. The spurs of radio emission extending into the outer X-ray cavities, inflated by past nuclear outbursts, are seen for the first time at these frequencies, consistent with spectral aging. Beyond NGC 1275, we also analyse complex radio sources harboured in the cluster. Two new distinct, narrowly collimated jets are visible in IC 310, consistent with a highly projected narrow-angle tail radio galaxy infalling into the cluster. We show how this is in agreement with its blazar-like behaviour, implying that blazars and bent-jet radio galaxies are not mutually exclusive. We report the presence of filamentary structures across the entire tail of NGC 1265, including two new pairs of long filaments in the faintest bent extension of the tail. Such filaments have been seen in other cluster radio sources such as relics and radio lobes, indicating that there may be a fundamental connection between all these radio structures. We resolve the very narrow and straight tail of CR 15 without indication of double jets, so that the interpretation of such head–tail sources is yet unclear. Finally, we note that only the brightest western parts of the mini-halo remain, near NGC 1272 and its bent double jets. 
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  8. ABSTRACT We present Atacama Large Millimetre/submillimetre Array observations of the brightest cluster galaxy Hydra-A, a nearby (z = 0.054) giant elliptical galaxy with powerful and extended radio jets. The observations reveal CO(1−0), CO(2–1), 13CO(2–1), CN(2–1), SiO(5–4), HCO+(1–0), HCO+(2–1), HCN(1–0), HCN(2–1), HNC(1–0), and H2CO(3–2) absorption lines against the galaxy’s bright and compact active galactic nucleus. These absorption features are due to at least 12 individual molecular clouds that lie close to the centre of the galaxy and have velocities of approximately −50 to +10 km s−1 relative to its recession velocity, where positive values correspond to inward motion. The absorption profiles are evidence of a clumpy interstellar medium within brightest cluster galaxies composed of clouds with similar column densities, velocity dispersions, and excitation temperatures to those found at radii of several kpc in the Milky Way. We also show potential variation in a ∼10 km s−1 wide section of the absorption profile over a 2 yr time-scale, most likely caused by relativistic motions in the hot spots of the continuum source that change the background illumination of the absorbing clouds. 
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  9. ABSTRACT The black hole candidate and X-ray binary MAXI J1535−571 was discovered in 2017 September. During the decay of its discovery outburst, and before returning to quiescence, the source underwent at least four reflaring events, with peak luminosities of ∼1035–36 erg s−1 (d/4.1 kpc)2. To investigate the nature of these flares, we analysed a sample of NICER (Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer) observations taken with almost daily cadence. In this work, we present the detailed spectral and timing analysis of the evolution of the four reflares. The higher sensitivity of NICER at lower energies, in comparison with other X-ray detectors, allowed us to constrain the disc component of the spectrum at ∼0.5 keV. We found that during each reflare the source appears to trace out a q-shaped track in the hardness–intensity diagram similar to those observed in black hole binaries during full outbursts. MAXI J1535−571 transits between the hard state (valleys) and softer states (peaks) during these flares. Moreover, the Comptonized component is undetected at the peak of the first reflare, while the disc component is undetected during the valleys. Assuming the most likely distance of 4.1 kpc, we find that the hard-to-soft transitions take place at the lowest luminosities ever observed in a black hole transient, while the soft-to-hard transitions occur at some of the lowest luminosities ever reported for such systems. 
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