X ray emission line spectroscopy of diffuse hot plasma
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IRAC 8 micro K-band 0.5-2 keV. X-ray Emission Line Spectroscopy of Diffuse Hot Plasma. Chandra ACIS-I. XMM-Newton RGS Liu, Wang, Li, & Peterson 2010. T ~ 3 x 10 6 K Lx ~2x10 38 erg/ s. Li & Wan 2007. X-ray spectroscopy: He-like ions. R ( or W) : Resonance line (allowed)

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X-ray Emission Line Spectroscopy of Diffuse Hot Plasma

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IRAC 8 micro


0.5-2 keV

X-ray Emission Line Spectroscopy of Diffuse Hot Plasma

Chandra ACIS-I

XMM-Newton RGS

Liu, Wang, Li, & Peterson 2010

T ~ 3 x 106 K

Lx~2x1038 erg/s

Li & Wan 2007

X-ray spectroscopy: He-like ions

  • R (or W): Resonance line (allowed)

    1s2p 1P11s21S0

    electronic dipole transition

  • I (or x+y): Intercombination line

    1s2p 3P1 1s2 1S0 (y)

    1s2p 3P21s2 1S0 (x)

    Triple or quadruplet

  • F (or z): Forbidden line

    1s2s 3S1 1s2 1S0

    relativistic magnetic dipole transition (Ajivery low)




Simplified Grotrian diagram

Porquet & Dubau (2000)

Photo-ionized plasma as seen in an AGN can have stronger forbidden lines.

Solar Wind Charge Exchange

From Dennerl 2010

Solar Wind Charge Exchange

  • Charge exchange (CX) nature of comet X-ray emission is confirmed, spectroscopically and temporally.

  • CX has a cross-section of ~10-15 cm-2

  • PCX/Pthpropto 1/ne2 on scales of mean free path

CX is also expected at the heliosphere

Peter Beiersdorfer

Much of the diffuse soft X-ray background may arise from the CX!



Futamoto et al. 2004, Wang et al. 05, Yao & Wang 05/06, Yao et al. 06/07/08

ROSAT all-sky survey in the ¾-keV band

X-ray binary


X-ray absorption line spectroscopy of diffuse hot plasma

  • Tracing all K transitions of metals  all three phases of the ISM.

  • Not affected by photo-electric absorption unbiased measurements of the global ISM.

LETG+HETG spectrum of LMXB 1820-303

Yao & Wang 2006, Yao et al. 2006, Futamoto et al 2004

Chandra ACIS observations of nearby galaxies

(Credit: NASA/CXC/SAO/R.DiStefano et al.)

Soria& Wu (2002)

XMM-Newton RGS spectrum of the nuclear starburst region of M51

Charge exchange may be responsible for much of diffuse soft X-ray emission in both normal and starburst galaxies.

Similar CX signatures are also observed in starburst galaxies

Li, Mao, Wang 2011

Soft X-ray arises primarily from the interplay between a superwind and entrained cool gas clouds.

Composite of optical (HST), infrared (Spitzer), and X-ray (Chandra) images

XMM-Newton Reflection Grating Spectrometers

Spatially-resolved X-ray spectroscopy

OVIII contours on HST image

OVIII contours on OVII image

NGC 4438 in the Virgo Cluster

Ha+[NII] image (Kenney et al. 1995).

Chandra 0.3-2 keV image, Machacek et al. 2004

Operating X-ray Telescopes





Future X-ray telescopes

eROSITA 2012

Astro-H, planned for launch in 2013



  • X-ray spectroscopy is the future of the X-ray astronomy  X-ray astrophysics, providing key diagnostics of plasma in the Universe.

  • Much of the diffuse X-ray emission from galaxies may arise from the charge exchange.

  • A lot can already be done to understand the process, which traces the galactic feedback and the presence of cool gas, especially in low density environments.

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