Sagittarius A* High-energy X-Ray Flare Properties during NuStar Monitoring of the Galactic Center from 2012 to 2015
Author(s)Ponti, Gabriele; Tomsick, John A.; Dexter, Jason; Clavel, Maïca; Markoff, Sera; Hailey, Charles J.; Mori, Kaya; Barrière, Nicolas M.; Boggs, Steven E.; Christensen, Finn E.; Craig, William W.; Grefenstette, Brian W.; Harrison, Fiona A.; Madsen, Kristin K.; Stern, Daniel; Zhang, William W.; Zhang, Shuo; Baganoff, Frederick K; Neilsen, Joseph M. G.; Nowak, Michael A.; ... Show more Show less
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Understanding the origin of the flaring activity from the Galactic center supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* is a major scientific goal of the NuSTAR Galactic plane survey campaign. We report on the data obtained between 2012 July and 2015 April, including 27 observations on Sgr A* , with a total exposure of ≃1 Ms. We found a total of 10 X-ray flares detected in the NuSTAR observation window, with luminosities in the range of L[subscript 3-79 keV] ∼ (0.2-4.0) × 10[superscript 35] erg s [superscript -1]. With this largest hard X-ray Sgr A* flare data set to date, we studied the flare spectral properties. Seven flares are detected above 5σ significance, showing a range of photon indices (Γ ∼ 2.0-2.8) with typical uncertainties of ±0.5 (90% confidence level). We found no significant spectral hardening for brighter flares, as indicated by a smaller sample. The accumulation of all of the flare spectra in 1-79 keV can be well fit with an absorbed power-law model with Γ = 2.2 ± 0.1, and does not require the existence of a spectral break. The lack of variation in the X-ray spectral index with luminosity would point to a single mechanism for the flares and is consistent with the synchrotron scenario. Lastly, we present the quiescentstate spectrum of Sgr A*, and derive an upper limit on the quiescent luminosity of Sgr A ∗ above 10 keV to be L[subscript X[subscript q], 10-79 keV] ≤ (2.9 ± 0.2) × 10 [superscript 34] erg s[superscript -1] .
DepartmentMIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research
The Astrophysical Journal
Zhang, Shuo, et al. “Sagittarius A* High-Energy X-Ray Flare Properties during NuStar Monitoring of the Galactic Center from 2012 to 2015.” The Astrophysical Journal, vol. 843, no. 2, July 2017, p. 96. © 2017 The American Astronomical Society.
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