This feed reads the most recent 20 entries with my name in the NASA ADS

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  1. Egron, E.: Imaging of SNR IC443 and W44 with the Sardinia Radio Telescope at 1.5 GHz and 7 GHz

    Observations of supernova remnants (SNRs) are a powerful tool for investigating the later stages of stellar evolution, the properties of the ambient interstellar medium, and the physics of particle acceleration and shocks. For a fraction of SNRs, multi-wavelength coverage from radio to ultra high-energies has been provided, constraining their contributions to the production of Galactic cosmic rays. Although radio emission is the most common identifier of SNRs and a prime probe for refining models, high-resolution images at frequencies above 5 GHz are surprisingly lacking, even for bright and well-known SNRs such as IC443 and W44. In the frameworks of the Astronomical Validation and Early Science Program with the 64-m single-dish Sardinia Radio Telescope, we provided, for the first time, single-dish deep imaging at 7 GHz of the IC443 and W44 complexes coupled with spatially-resolved spectra in the 1.5-7 GHz frequency range. Our images were obtained through on-the-fly mapping techniques, providing antenna beam oversampling and resulting in accurate continuum flux density measurements. The integrated flux densities associated with IC443 are S_1.5GHz = 134 +/- 4 Jy and S_7GHz = 67 +/- 3 Jy. For W44, we measured total flux densities of S_1.5GHz = 214 +/- 6 Jy and S_7GHz = 94 +/- 4 Jy. Spectral index maps provide evidence of a wide physical parameter scatter among different SNR regions: a flat spectrum is observed from the brightest SNR regions at the shock, while steeper spectral indices (up to 0.7) are observed in fainter cooling regions, disentangling in this way different populations and spectra of radio/gamma-ray-emitting electrons in these SNRs.
  2. Zolotukhin, I. Y.: The Slowest Spinning X-Ray Pulsar in an Extragalactic Globular Cluster

    Neutron stars are thought to be born rapidly rotating and then exhibit a phase of rotation-powered pulsations as they slow down to 1–10 s periods. The significant population of millisecond pulsars observed in our Galaxy is explained by the recycling concept: during an epoch of accretion from a donor star in a binary system, the neutron star is spun up to millisecond periods. However, only a few pulsars are observed during this recycling process, with relatively high rotational frequencies. Here we report the detection of an X-ray pulsar with {P}{spin}=1.20 {{s}} in the globular cluster B091D in the Andromeda galaxy, the slowest pulsar ever found in a globular cluster. This bright (up to 30% of the Eddington luminosity) spinning-up pulsar, persistent over the 12 years of observations, must have started accreting less than 1 Myr ago and has not yet had time to accelerate to hundreds of Hertz. The neutron star in this unique wide binary with an orbital period {P}{orb}=30.5 {hr} in a 12 Gyr old, metal-rich star cluster accretes from a low-mass, slightly evolved post-main-sequence companion. We argue that we are witnessing a binary formed at a relatively recent epoch by getting a ∼0.8 {M}ȯ star in a dynamical interaction—a viable scenario in a massive, dense globular cluster like B091D with high global and specific stellar encounter rates. This intensively accreting non-recycled X-ray pulsar therefore provides a long-sought missing piece in the standard pulsar recycling picture.
  3. Walton, D. J.: Living on a Flare: Relativistic Reflection in V404 Cyg Observed by NuSTAR during Its Summer 2015 Outburst

    We present first results from a series of NuSTAR observations of the black hole X-ray binary V404 Cyg obtained during its summer 2015 outburst, primarily focusing on observations during the height of this outburst activity. The NuSTAR data show extreme variability in both the flux and spectral properties of the source. This is partly driven by strong and variable line-of-sight absorption, similar to previous outbursts. The latter stages of this observation are dominated by strong flares, reaching luminosities close to Eddington. During these flares, the central source appears to be relatively unobscured and the data show clear evidence for a strong contribution from relativistic reflection, providing a means to probe the geometry of the innermost accretion flow. Based on the flare properties, analogies with other Galactic black hole binaries, and also the simultaneous onset of radio activity, we argue that this intense X-ray flaring is related to transient jet activity during which the ejected plasma is the primary source of illumination for the accretion disk. If this is the case, then our reflection modeling implies that these jets are launched in close proximity to the black hole (as close as a few gravitational radii), consistent with expectations for jet launching models that tap either the spin of the central black hole, or the very innermost accretion disk. Our analysis also allows us to place the first constraints on the black hole spin for this source, which we find to be {a}*> 0.92 (99% statistical uncertainty, based on an idealized lamp-post geometry).
  4. Walton, D. J.: The Broadband Spectral Variability of Holmberg IX X-1

    We present results from four new broadband X-ray observations of the extreme ultraluminous X-ray source Holmberg IX X-1 ({L}{{X}}> {10}40 erg s‑1), performed by Suzaku and NuSTAR in coordination. Combined with the archival data, we now have broadband observations of this remarkable source from six separate epochs. Two of these new observations probe lower fluxes than seen previously, allowing us to extend our knowledge of the broadband spectral variability exhibited. The spectra are well fit by two thermal blackbody components that dominate the emission below 10 keV, as well as a steep ({{Γ }}∼ 3.5) power-law tail that dominates above ∼15 keV. Remarkably, while the 0.3–10.0 keV flux varies by a factor of ∼3 between all these epochs, the 15–40 keV flux varies by only ∼20%. Although the spectral variability is strongest in the ∼1–10 keV band, both of the thermal components are required to vary when all epochs are considered. We also revisit the search for iron absorption features by leveraging the high-energy NuSTAR data to improve our sensitivity to extreme velocity outflows in light of the ultra-fast outflow recently detected in NGC 1313 X-1. Iron absorption from a similar outflow along our line of sight can be ruled out in this case. We discuss these results in the context of super-Eddington accretion models that invoke a funnel-like geometry for the inner flow, and propose a scenario in which we have an almost face-on view of a funnel that expands to larger radii with increasing flux, resulting in an increasing degree of geometrical collimation for the emission from intermediate-temperature regions.
  5. Prandoni, I.: The Sardinia Radio Telescope: From a Technological Project to a Radio Observatory

    [Abridged] The Sardinia Radio Telescope (SRT) is the new 64-m dish operated by INAF (Italy). Its active surface will allow us to observe at frequencies of up to 116 GHz. At the moment, three receivers, one per focal position, have been installed and tested. The SRT was officially opened in October 2013, upon completion of its technical commissioning phase. In this paper, we provide an overview of the main science drivers for the SRT, describe the main outcomes from the scientific commissioning of the telescope, and discuss a set of observations demonstrating the SRT's scientific capabilities. One of the main objectives of scientific commissioning was the identification of deficiencies in the instrumentation and/or in the telescope sub-systems for further optimization. As a result, the overall telescope performance has been significantly improved. As part of the scientific commissioning activities, different observing modes were tested and validated, and first astronomical observations were carried out to demonstrate the science capabilities of the SRT. In addition, we developed astronomer-oriented software tools, to support future observers on-site. The astronomical validation activities were prioritized based on technical readiness and scientific impact. The highest priority was to make the SRT available for joint observations as part of European networks. As a result, the SRT started to participate (in shared-risk mode) in EVN (European VLBI Network) and LEAP (Large European Array for Pulsars) observing sessions in early 2014. The validation of single-dish operations for the suite of SRT first light receivers and backends continued in the following years, and was concluded with the first call for shared-risk/early-science observations issued at the end of 2015.
  6. Ludlam, R. M.: A Hard Look at the Neutron Stars and Accretion Disks in 4U 1636-53, GX 17+2, and 4U 1705-44 with NuStar

    We present NuSTAR observations of neutron star (NS) low-mass X-ray binaries: 4U 1636-53, GX 17+2, and 4U 1705-44. We observed 4U 1636-53 in the hard state, with an Eddington fraction, {F}{Edd}, of 0.01; GX 17+2 and 4U 1705-44 were in the soft state with fractions of 0.57 and 0.10, respectively. Each spectrum shows evidence for a relativistically broadened Fe K α line. Through accretion disk reflection modeling, we constrain the radius of the inner disk in 4U 1636-53 to be {R}{in}=1.03+/- 0.03 ISCO (innermost stable circular orbit), assuming a dimensionless spin parameter {a}*={cJ}/{{GM}}2=0.0, and {R}{in}=1.08+/- 0.06 ISCO for {a}*=0.3 (errors quoted at 1σ). This value proves to be model independent. For {a}*=0.3 and M=1.4 {M}, for example, 1.08 ± 0.06 ISCO translates to a physical radius of R=10.8+/- 0.6 km, and the NS would have to be smaller than this radius (other outcomes are possible for allowed spin parameters and masses). For GX 17+2, {R}{in}=1.00{--}1.04 ISCO for {a}*=0.0 and {R}{in}=1.03{--}1.30 ISCO for {a}*=0.3. For {a}*=0.3 and M=1.4 {M}, {R}{in}=1.03{--}1.30 ISCO translates to R=10.3{--}13.0 km. The inner accretion disk in 4U 1705-44 may be truncated just above the stellar surface, perhaps by a boundary layer or magnetosphere; reflection models give a radius of 1.46-1.64 ISCO for {a}* =0.0 and 1.69-1.93 ISCO for {a}*=0.3. We discuss the implications our results may have on the equation of state of ultradense, cold matter and our understanding of the innermost accretion flow onto NSs with low surface magnetic fields, and systematic errors related to the reflection models and spacetime metric around less idealized NSs.
  7. Huppenkothen, D.: Detection of Very Low-frequency, Quasi-periodic Oscillations in the 2015 Outburst of V404 Cygni

    In 2015 June, the black hole X-ray binary (BHXRB) V404 Cygni went into outburst for the first time since 1989. Here, we present a comprehensive search for quasi-periodic oscillations (QPOs) of V404 Cygni during its recent outburst, utilizing data from six instruments on board five different X-ray missions: Swift/XRT, Fermi/GBM, Chandra/ACIS, INTEGRAL’s IBIS/ISGRI and JEM-X, and NuSTAR. We report the detection of a QPO at 18 mHz simultaneously with both Fermi/GBM and Swift/XRT, another example of a rare but slowly growing new class of mHz-QPOs in BHXRBs linked to sources with a high orbital inclination. Additionally, we find a duo of QPOs in a Chandra/ACIS observation at 73 mHz and 1.03 Hz, as well as a QPO at 136 mHz in a single Swift/XRT observation that can be interpreted as standard Type-C QPOs. Aside from the detected QPOs, there is significant structure in the broadband power, with a strong feature observable in the Chandra observations between 0.1 and 1 Hz. We discuss our results in the context of current models for QPO formation.
  8. Fürst, F.: Spectral Changes in the Hyperluminous Pulsar in NGC 5907 as a Function of Super-orbital Phase

    We present broadband, multi-epoch X-ray spectroscopy of the pulsating ultra-luminous X-ray source (ULX) in NGC 5907. Simultaneous XMM-Newton and NuSTAR data from 2014 are best described by a multicolor blackbody model with a temperature gradient as a function of accretion disk radius significantly flatter than expected for a standard thin accretion disk (T(r)\propto {r}-p, with p={0.608}-0.012+0.014). Additionally, we detect a hard power-law tail at energies above 10 keV, which we interpret as being due to Comptonization. We compare this observation to archival XMM-Newton, Chandra, and NuSTAR data from 2003, 2012, and 2013, and investigate possible spectral changes as a function of phase over the 78-day super-orbital period of this source. We find that observations taken around phases 0.3-0.4 show very similar temperature profiles, even though the observed flux varies significantly, while one observation taken around phase 0 has a significantly steeper profile. We discuss these findings in light of the recent discovery that the compact object is a neutron star and show that precession of the accretion disk or the neutron star can self-consistently explain most observed phenomena.
  9. Guillot, S.: The NuSTAR view of the non-thermal emission from PSR J0437-4715

    We present a hard X-ray Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) observation of PSR J0437-4715, the nearest millisecond pulsar. The known pulsations at the apparent pulse period {˜ }5.76{ ms} are observed with a significance of 3.7σ, at energies up to 20 keV above which the NuSTAR background dominates. We measure a photon index Γ = 1.50 ± 0.25 (90 per cent confidence) for the power-law fit to the non-thermal emission. It had been shown that spectral models with two or three thermal components fit the XMM-Newton spectrum of PSR J0437-4715, depending on the slope of the power-law component, and the amount of absorption of soft X-rays. The new constraint on the high-energy emission provided by NuSTAR removes ambiguities regarding the thermal components of the emission below 3{ keV}. We performed a simultaneous spectral analysis of the XMM-Newton and NuSTAR data to confirm that three thermal components and a power law are required to fit the 0.3-20 keV emission of PSR J0437-4715. Adding a ROSAT-PSPC spectrum further confirmed this result and allowed us to better constrain the temperatures of the three thermal components. A phase-resolved analysis of the NuSTAR data revealed no significant change in the photon index of the high-energy emission. This NuSTAR observation provides further impetus for future observations with the NICER mission (Neutron Star Interior Composition Explorer) whose sensitivity will provide much stricter constraints on the equation of state of nuclear matter by combining model fits to the pulsar's phase-folded light curve with the pulsar's well-defined mass and distance from radio timing observations.
  10. Murgia, M.: Sardinia Radio Telescope wide-band spectral-polarimetric observations of the galaxy cluster 3C 129

    We present new observations of the galaxy cluster 3C 129 obtained with the Sardinia Radio Telescope in the frequency range 6000-7200 MHz, with the aim to image the large-angular-scale emission at high-frequency of the radio sources located in this cluster of galaxies. The data were acquired using the recently commissioned ROACH2-based backend to produce full-Stokes image cubes of an area of 1°×1° centred on the radio source 3C 129. We modelled and deconvolved the telescope beam pattern from the data. We also measured the instrumental polarization beam patterns to correct the polarization images for off-axis instrumental polarization. Total intensity images at an angular resolution of 2.9 arcmin were obtained for the tailed radio galaxy 3C 129 and for 13 more sources in the field, including 3C 129.1 at the galaxy cluster centre. These data were used, in combination with literature data at lower frequencies, to derive the variation of the synchrotron spectrum of 3C 129 along the tail of the radio source. If the magnetic field is at the equipartition value, we showed that the lifetimes of radiating electrons result in a radiative age for 3C 129 of tsyn ≃ 267 ± 26 Myr. Assuming a linear projected length of 488 kpc for the tail, we deduced that 3C 129 is moving supersonically with a Mach number of M = vgal/cs = 1.47. Linearly polarized emission was clearly detected for both 3C 129 and 3C 129.1. The linear polarization measured for 3C 129 reaches levels as high as 70 per cent in the faintest region of the source where the magnetic field is aligned with the direction of the tail.
  11. Egron, E.: Monitoring of Cyg X-3 giant flare with Medicina and the Sardinia Radio Telescope

    Following the detection of Cyg X-3 entering in an ultra soft X-ray state, a forthcoming giant flare was predicted by Trushkin et al. (ATel #9416). In fact, a significant radio flux increase was detected three weeks later, on 14-16 September 2016 (ATel #9502).
  12. Rea, N.: Magnetar-like Activity from the Central Compact Object in the SNR RCW103

    The 6.67 hr periodicity and the variable X-ray flux of the central compact object (CCO) at the center of the supernova remnant RCW 103, named 1E 161348-5055, have been always difficult to interpret within the standard scenarios of an isolated neutron star (NS) or a binary system. On 2016 June 22, the Burst Alert Telescope (BAT) on board Swift detected a magnetar-like short X-ray burst from the direction of 1E 161348-5055, also coincident with a large long-term X-ray outburst. Here, we report on Chandra, Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, and Swift (BAT and XRT) observations of this peculiar source during its 2016 outburst peak. In particular, we study the properties of this magnetar-like burst, we discover a hard X-ray tail in the CCO spectrum during outburst, and we study its long-term outburst history (from 1999 to 2016 July). We find the emission properties of 1E 161348-5055 consistent with it being a magnetar. However, in this scenario, the 6.67 hr periodicity can only be interpreted as the rotation period of this strongly magnetized NS, which therefore represents the slowest pulsar ever detected, by orders of magnitude. We briefly discuss the viable slow-down scenarios, favoring a picture involving a period of fall-back accretion after the supernova explosion, similarly to what is invoked (although in a different regime) to explain the “anti-magnetar” scenario for other CCOs.
  13. Fürst, F.: Spectro-Timing Study of GX 339-4 in a Hard Intermediate State

    We present an analysis of Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array observations of a hard intermediate state of the transient black hole GX 339-4 taken in 2015 January. With the source softening significantly over the course of the 1.3 day long observation we split the data into 21 sub-sets and find that the spectrum of all of them can be well described by a power-law continuum with an additional relativistically blurred reflection component. The photon index increases from ˜1.69 to ˜1.77 over the course of the observation. The accretion disk is truncated at around nine gravitational radii in all spectra. We also perform timing analysis on the same 21 individual data sets, and find a strong type-C quasi-periodic oscillation (QPO), which increases in frequency from ˜0.68 to ˜1.05 Hz with time. The frequency change is well correlated with the softening of the spectrum. We discuss possible scenarios for the production of the QPO and calculate predicted inner radii in the relativistic precession model as well as the global disk mode oscillations model. We find discrepancies with respect to the observed values in both models unless we allow for a black hole mass of ˜100 {M}, which is highly unlikely. We discuss possible systematic uncertainties, in particular with the measurement of the inner accretion disk radius in the relativistic reflection model. We conclude that the combination of observed QPO frequencies and inner accretion disk radii, as obtained from spectral fitting, is difficult to reconcile with current models.
  14. Huppenkothen, D.: Stingray: Spectral-timing software

    Stingray is a spectral-timing software package for astrophysical X-ray (and more) data. The package merges existing efforts for a (spectral-)timing package in Python and is composed of a library of time series methods (including power spectra, cross spectra, covariance spectra, and lags); scripts to load FITS data files from different missions; a simulator of light curves and event lists that includes different kinds of variability and more complicated phenomena based on the impulse response of given physical events (e.g. reverberation); and a GUI to ease the learning curve for new users.
  15. Walton, D. J.: A 78 Day X-Ray Period Detected from NGC 5907 ULX1 by Swift

    We report the detection of a 78.1 ± 0.5 day period in the X-ray light curve of the extreme ultraluminous X-ray source NGC 5907 ULX1 ({L}{{X,peak}}˜ 5× {10}40 erg s-1), discovered during an extensive monitoring program with Swift. These periodic variations are strong, with the observed flux changing by a factor of ˜3-4 between the peaks and the troughs of the cycle; our simulations suggest that the observed periodicity is detected comfortably in excess of 3σ significance. We discuss possible origins for this X-ray period, but conclude that at the current time we cannot robustly distinguish between orbital and super-orbital variations.
  16. Sleator, C. C.: A NuSTAR Observation of the Reflection Spectrum of the Low-mass X-Ray Binary 4U 1728-34

    We report on a simultaneous NuSTAR and Swift observation of the neutron star low-mass X-ray binary 4U 1728-34. We identified and removed four Type I X-ray bursts during the observation in order to study the persistent emission. The continuum spectrum is hard and described well by a blackbody with kT = 1.5 keV and a cutoff power law with Γ = 1.5, and a cutoff temperature of 25 keV. Residuals between 6 and 8 keV provide strong evidence of a broad Fe Kα line. By modeling the spectrum with a relativistically blurred reflection model, we find an upper limit for the inner disk radius of {R}{{in}}≤slant 2{R}{{ISCO}}. Consequently, we find that R NS ≤ 23 km, assuming M = 1.4 M and a = 0.15. We also find an upper limit on the magnetic field of B ≤ 2 × 108 G.
  17. Walton, D. J.: An Iron K Component to the Ultrafast Outflow in NGC 1313 X-1

    We present the detection of an absorption feature at E={8.77}-0.06+0.05 keV in the combined X-ray spectrum of the ultraluminous X-ray source NGC 1313 X-1 observed with XMM-Newton and NuSTAR, significant at the 3σ level. If associated with blueshifted ionized iron, the implied outflow velocity is ˜0.2c for Fe xxvi, or ˜0.25c for Fe xxv. These velocities are similar to the ultrafast outflow seen in absorption recently discovered in this source at lower energies by XMM-Newton, and we therefore conclude that this is an iron component to the same outflow. Photoionization modeling marginally prefers the Fe xxv solution, but in either case the outflow properties appear to be extreme, potentially supporting a super-Eddington hypothesis for NGC 1313 X-1.
  18. Soffitta, P.: XIPE: the x-ray imaging polarimetry explorer

    XIPE, the X-ray Imaging Polarimetry Explorer, is a mission dedicated to X-ray Astronomy. At the time of writing XIPE is in a competitive phase A as fourth medium size mission of ESA (M4). It promises to reopen the polarimetry window in high energy Astrophysics after more than 4 decades thanks to a detector that efficiently exploits the photoelectric effect and to X-ray optics with large effective area. XIPE uniqueness is time-spectrally-spatially- resolved X-ray polarimetry as a breakthrough in high energy astrophysics and fundamental physics. Indeed the payload consists of three Gas Pixel Detectors at the focus of three X-ray optics with a total effective area larger than one XMM mirror but with a low weight. The payload is compatible with the fairing of the Vega launcher. XIPE is designed as an observatory for X-ray astronomers with 75 % of the time dedicated to a Guest Observer competitive program and it is organized as a consortium across Europe with main contributions from Italy, Germany, Spain, United Kingdom, Poland, Sweden.
  19. Loru, S.: Modelling high-resolution spatially-resolved Supernova Remnant spectra with the Sardinia Radio Telescope

    Supernova Remnants (SNRs) exhibit spectra featured by synchrotron radio emission arising from the relativistic electrons, and high-energy emission from both leptonic (Bremsstrahlung and Inverse Compton) and hadronic processes (π0 mesons decay) which are a direct signature of cosmic rays acceleration. Thanks to radio single-dish imaging observations obtained in three frequency bands (1.6, 7, 22 GHz) with the Sardinia Radio Telescope (, we can model different SNR regions separately. Indeed, in order to disentangle interesting and peculiar hadron contributions in the high-energy spectra (gamma-ray band) and better constrain SNRs as cosmic rays emitters, it is crucial to fully constrain lepton contributions first through radio-observed parameters. In particular, the Bremsstrahlung and Inverse Compton bumps observed in gamma-rays are bounded to synchrotron spectral slope and cut-off in the radio domain. Since these parameters vary for different SNR regions and electron populations, spatially-resolved radio spectra are then required for accurate multi-wavelength modelling.
  20. Egron, E.: Observations of supernova remnants with the Sardinia Radio Telescope

    In the frame of the Astronomical Validation activities for the 64m Sardinia Radio Telescope, we performed 5-22 GHz imaging observations of the complex-morphology supernova remnants (SNRs) W44 and IC443. We adopted innovative observing and mapping techniques providing unprecedented accuracy for single-dish imaging of SNRs at these frequencies, revealing morphological details typically available only at lower frequencies through interferometry observations. High-frequency studies of SNRs in the radio range are useful to better characterize the spatially-resolved spectra and the physical parameters of different regions of the SNRs interacting with the ISM. Furthermore, synchrotron-emitting electrons in the high-frequency radio band are also responsible for the observed high-energy phenomenology as -e.g.- Inverse Compton and bremsstrahlung emission components observed in gamma-rays, to be disentangled from hadron emission contribution (providing constraints on the origin of cosmic rays).