G. Ponti - University of Southampton

G. Ponti
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G. Ponti
University of Southampton
United Kingdom

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High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena (48)
Astrophysics of Galaxies (12)
Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics (3)
Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (1)

Publications Authored By G. Ponti

Outflows in active galaxies (AGNs) are common, although their launching mechanism, location, and physical impact on the host galaxy remain controversial. We conducted a multiwavelength six-month campaign to observe the nearby Seyfert galaxy NGC 7469 with several observatories in order to better understand and quantify the outflow in this AGN. We report on the time-integrated line-resolved X-ray spectrum of NGC 7469 obtained with the Reflection Grating Spectrometer (RGS) on board XMM-Newton. Read More

We present results of long NuSTAR (200 ks) and XMM-Newton (100 ks) observations of the Arches stellar cluster, a source of bright thermal (kT~2 keV) X-rays with prominent Fe XXV K_alpha 6.7 keV line emission and a nearby molecular cloud, characterized by an extended non-thermal hard X-ray continuum and fluorescent Fe K_alpha 6.4 keV line of a neutral or low ionization state material around the cluster. Read More

We use a model of the molecular gas distribution within ~100 pc from the center of the Milky Way (Kruijssen, Dale & Longmore) to simulate time evolution and polarization properties of the reflected X-ray emission, associated with the past outbursts from Sgr A*. While this model is too simple to describe the complexity of the true gas distribution, it illustrates the importance and power of long-term observations of the reflected emission. We show that the variable part of X-ray emission observed by Chandra and XMM from prominent molecular clouds is well described by a pure reflection model, providing strong support of the reflection scenario. Read More

After more than 26 years in quiescence, the black hole transient V404 Cyg went into a luminous outburst in June 2015, and additional activity was detected in late December of the same year. Here, we present an optical spectroscopic follow-up of the December mini-outburst, together with X-ray, optical and radio monitoring that spanned more than a month. Strong flares with gradually increasing intensity are detected in the three spectral ranges during the ~10 days following the Swift trigger. Read More

A powerful outburst of X-ray radiation from the supermassive black hole Sgr A* at the center of the Milky Way is believed to be responsible for the illumination of molecular clouds in the central ~100 pc of the Galaxy (Sunyaev et al., 1993, Koyama et al., 1996). Read More

We present results from a joint Xmm-Newton/NuSTAR monitoring of the Seyfert 1 NGC 4593, consisting of 5x20 ks simultaneous observations spaced by two days, performed in January 2015. The source is variable, both in flux and spectral shape, on time-scales down to a few ks and with a clear softer-when-brighter behaviour. In agreement with past observations, we find the presence of a warm absorber well described by a two-phase ionized outflow. Read More

Affiliations: 1INAF/IASF-Palermo, 2ISDC, 3API/UvA, 4INAF/OAB, 5MPE, 6MPE, 7INAF/OAB, 8IAAT, Uni. Tuebingen, 9INAF/IASF-Palermo, 10MPE, 11INAF-IASF-Bologna, 12INAF/IASF-Palermo, 13INAF/OAB, 14PSU

Supergiant fast X-ray transients (SFXTs) are high mass X-ray binaries (HMXBs) hosting a neutron star and an OB supergiant companion. We examine the available Swift data, as well as other new or archival/serendipitous data, on three sources: IGR J17407-2808, 2XMM J185114.3-000004, and IGR J18175-2419, whose X-ray characteristics qualify them as candidate SFXT, in order to explore their properties and test whether they are consistent with an SFXT nature. Read More

Affiliations: 1SRON, 2STSci, 3SRON, 4Roma Tre Univ, 5Mullard Space Science Lab, 6INAF-IASF Bologna, 7MPE, 8ESAC, 9SRON, 10Grenoble Univ, 11ISDC, 12MPE, 13Univ. Catolica del Norte, 14Virginia Tech

We model the broad emission lines present in the optical, UV and X-ray spectra of Mrk 509, a bright type 1 Seyfert galaxy. The broad lines were simultaneously observed during a large multiwavelength campaign, using the XMM-Newton-OM for the optical lines, HST-COS for the UV lines and XMM-Newton-RGS and Epic for the X-ray lines respectively. We also used FUSE archival data for the broad lines observed in the far-ultra-violet. Read More

We report on the identification of the new Galactic Center (GC) transient Swift J174540.7-290015 as a likely low mass X-ray binary (LMXB) located at only 16 arcsec from Sgr A*. This transient was detected on 2016 February 6th during the Swift GC monitoring, and it showed long-term spectral variations compatible with a hard to soft state transition. Read More

Matter flows in the central regions of quasars during their active phases are probably responsible for the properties of the super-massive black holes and that of the bulges of host galaxies. To understand how this mechanism works, we need to characterize the geometry and the physical state of the accreting matter at cosmological redshifts. The few high quality X-ray spectra of distant QSO have been collected by adding sparse pointings of single objects obtained during X-ray monitoring campaigns. Read More

Affiliations: 1SSL/UC Berkeley, 2SSL/UC Berkeley, 3Georgia College, 4SSL/UC Berkeley, 5SSL/UC Berkeley, 6CfA, 7IKI Moscow, 8MPE Garching, 9ESO, 10JPL Caltech

Studying the population of faint hard X-ray sources along the plane of the Galaxy is challenging because of high-extinction and crowding, which make the identification of individual sources more difficult. IGR J18293-1213 is part of the population of persistent sources which have been discovered by the INTEGRAL satellite. We report on NuSTAR and Swift/XRT observations of this source, performed on 2015 September 11. Read More

Accretion of matter onto black holes is universally associated with strong radiative feedback and powerful outflows. In particular, black hole transients show outflows whose properties are strongly coupled to those of the accretion flow. This includes X-ray winds of ionized material, expelled from the accretion disc encircling the black hole, and collimated radio jets. Read More

The evolution of the inner accretion flow of a black hole X-ray binary (BHXRB) during the outburst is still a matter of active research. X-ray reverberation lags are powerful tools to constrain the disk-corona geometry. We present a study of X-ray lags in the black hole transient H1743-322. Read More

In 2013 we conducted a large multi-wavelength campaign on the archetypical Seyfert 1 galaxy NGC 5548. Unexpectedly, this usually unobscured source appeared strongly absorbed in the soft X-rays during the entire campaign, and signatures of new and strong outflows were present in the almost simultaneous UV HST/COS data. Here we carry out a comprehensive spectral analysis of all available XMM-Newton observations of NGC 5548 (for a total of ~763 ks) in combination with 3 simultaneous NuSTAR obs. Read More

In this paper, we report on the available X-ray data collected by INTEGRAL, Swift, and XMM-Newton during the first outburst of the INTEGRAL transient IGR J17451-3022, discovered in 2014 August. The monitoring observations provided by the JEM-X instruments on-board INTEGRAL and the Swift/XRT showed that the event lasted for about 9 months and that the emission of the source remained soft for the entire period. The source emission is dominated by a thermal component (kT~1. Read More

We present an analysis of a sample of Seyfert 1 galaxies observed with Suzaku. The aim of this work is to examine critically the evidence for a relativistic Fe K alpha line in the X-ray spectra of these AGN. The sample was compiled from those sources in which a relativistic component was missing in at least one XMM-Newton observation. Read More

We present our investigation into the long-term variability of the X-ray obscuration and optical-UV-X-ray continuum in the Seyfert 1 galaxy NGC 5548. In 2013 and 2014, the Swift observatory monitored NGC 5548 on average every day or two, with archival observations reaching back to 2005, totalling about 670 ks of observing time. Both broadband spectral modelling and temporal rms variability analysis are applied to the Swift data. Read More

(Abridged) The archetypal Seyfert 1 galaxy NGC 5548 was observed in 2013-2014 in the context of an extensive multiwavelength campaign, which revealed the source to be in an extraordinary state of persistent heavy obscuration. We re-analyzed the archival grating spectra obtained by XMM-Newton and Chandra between 1999 and 2007 in order to characterize the classic warm absorber (WA) using consistent models and up-to-date photoionization codes and atomic physics databases and to construct a baseline model that can be used as a template for the WA in the 2013 observations. The WA in NGC 5548 is composed of 6 distinct ionization phases outflowing in 4 kinematic regimes in the form of a stratified wind with several layers intersected by our line of sight. Read More

The orbital period evolution of X-ray binaries provides fundamental clues to understanding mechanisms of angular momentum loss from these systems. We present an X-ray eclipse timing analysis of the transient low mass X-ray binary AX J1745.6-2901. Read More

The advent of the new generation of X-ray telescopes yielded a significant step forward in our understanding of ionised absorption generated in the accretion discs of X-ray binaries. It has become evident that these relatively weak and narrow absorption features, sporadically present in the X-ray spectra of some systems, are actually the signature of equatorial outflows, which might carry away more matter than that being accreted. Therefore, they play a major role in the accretion phenomenon. Read More

[Abbreviated] We search for scaling relations between the fundamental AGN parameters and rest-frame UV/optical variability properties for a sample of $\sim$90 X-ray selected AGNs covering a wide redshift range from the XMM-COSMOS survey, with optical light curves in four bands provided by the Pan-STARRS1 (PS1) Medium Deep Field 04 survey. To estimate the variability amplitude we utilize the normalized excess variance ($\sigma_{\mathrm{rms}}^{2}$) and probe variability on rest-frame timescales of several months and years by calculating $\sigma_{\mathrm{rms}}^{2}$ from different parts of our light curves. In addition, we derive the rest-frame optical PSD for our sources using continuous-time autoregressive moving average (CARMA) models. Read More

We report results obtained from a systematic analysis of X-ray lags in a sample of black hole X-ray binaries, with the aim of assessing the presence of reverberation lags and studying their evolution during outburst. We used XMM-Newton and simultaneous RXTE observations to obtain broad-band energy coverage of both the disc and the hard X-ray Comptonization components. In most cases the detection of reverberation lags is hampered by low levels of variability signal-to-noise ratio (e. Read More

We discuss preliminary results from a joint XMM-Newton and NuSTAR monitoring program on the active galactic nucleus NGC 4593, consisting of 5x20 ks observations, spaced by two days, performed in January 2015. The source is found to be variable, both in flux and spectral shape, on time scales as short as a few ks. The spectrum clearly softens when the source brightens. Read More

Context. Our consortium performed an extensive multi-wavelength campaign of the nearby Seyfert 1 galaxy NGC 5548 in 2013-14. The source appeared unusually heavily absorbed in the soft X-rays, and signatures of outflowing absorption were also present in the UV. Read More

We report on the analysis of hard-state power spectral density function (PSD) of GX 339-4 down to the soft X-ray band, where the disc significantly contributes to the total emission. At any luminosity probed, the disc in the hard state is intrinsically more variable than in the soft state. However, the fast decrease of disc variability as a function of luminosity, combined with the increase of disc intensity, causes a net drop of fractional variability at high luminosities and low energies, which reminds the well-known behaviour of disc-dominated energy bands in the soft state. Read More

The deepest XMM-Newton mosaic map of the central 1.5 deg of the Galaxy is presented, including a total of about 1.5 Ms of EPIC-pn cleaned exposures in the central 15" and about 200 ks outside. Read More

Galactic Center (GC) molecular cloud Sgr B2 is the best manifestation of an X-ray reflection nebula (XRN) reprocessing a past giant outburst from the supermassive black hole Sgr A*. Alternatively, Sgr B2 could be illuminated by low-energy cosmic ray electrons (LECRe) or protons (LECRp). In 2013, NuSTAR for the first time resolved Sgr B2 hard X-ray emission on sub-arcminute scales. Read More

We present a study of the X-ray flaring activity of Sgr A* during all the 150 XMM-Newton and Chandra observations pointed at the Milky Way center over the last 15 years. This includes the latest XMM-Newton and Chandra campaigns devoted to monitoring the closest approach of the very red Br-Gamma emitting object called G2. The entire dataset analysed extends from September 1999 through November 2014. Read More

Sco X-1 has been the subject of many multi-wavelength studies in the past, being the brightest persistent extra-solar X-ray source ever observed. Here we revisit Sco X-1 with simultaneous short cadence Kepler optical photometry and MAXI X-ray photometry over a 78 day period, as well as optical spectroscopy obtained with HERMES. We find Sco X-1 to be highly variable in all our datasets. Read More

During an extensive multiwavelength campaign that we performed in 2013-14 the prototypical Seyfert 1 galaxy NGC 5548 has been found in an unusual condition of heavy and persistent obscuration. The newly discovered "obscurer" absorbs most of the soft X-ray continuum along our line of sight and lowers the ionizing luminosity received by the classical warm absorber. Here we present the analysis of the high resolution X-ray spectra collected with XMM-Newton and Chandra throughout the campaign, which are suitable to investigate the variability of both the obscurer and the classical warm absorber. Read More

Affiliations: 1MPE, Garching, 2MPE, Garching, 3MPE, Garching, 4MPE, Garching, 5MPE, Garching, 6MPE, Garching, 7MPE, Garching, 8MPE, Garching, 9MPE, Garching

We argue that the `changing look' AGN recently reported by LaMassa et al. could be a luminous flare produced by the tidal disruption of a super-solar mass star passing just a few gravitational radii outside the event horizon of a $\sim 10^8 M_{\odot}$ nuclear black hole. This flare occurred in a massive, star forming galaxy at redshift $z=0. Read More

In 2013 April a new magnetar, SGR 1745-2900, was discovered as it entered an outburst, at only 2.4 arcsec angular distance from the supermassive black hole at the Centre of the Milky Way, Sagittarius A*. SGR 1745-2900 has a surface dipolar magnetic field of ~ 2x10^{14} G, and it is the neutron star closest to a black hole ever observed. Read More

We describe the analysis of the seven broad-band X-ray continuum observations of the archetypal Seyfert 1 galaxy NGC 5548 that were obtained with XMM-Newton or Chandra, simultaneously with high-energy (> 10 keV) observations with NuSTAR and INTEGRAL. These data were obtained as part of a multiwavelength campaign undertaken from the summer of 2013 till early 2014. We find evidence of a high-energy cut-off in at least one observation, which we attribute to thermal Comptonization, and a constant reflected component that is likely due to neutral material at least a few light months away from the continuum source. Read More

This is a White Paper in support of the mission concept of the Large Observatory for X-ray Timing (LOFT), proposed as a medium-sized ESA mission. We discuss the potential of LOFT for the study of the physics of accretion and ejection around compact objects. For a summary, we refer to the paper. Read More

An extensive multi-satellite campaign on NGC 5548 has revealed this archetypal Seyfert-1 galaxy to be in an exceptional state of persistent heavy absorption. Our observations taken in 2013-2014 with XMM-Newton, Swift, NuSTAR, INTEGRAL, Chandra, HST and two ground-based observatories have together enabled us to establish that this unexpected phenomenon is caused by an outflowing stream of weakly ionised gas (called the obscurer), extending from the vicinity of the accretion disk to the broad-line region. In this work we present the details of our campaign and the data obtained by all the observatories. Read More

(Abridged) Our deep multiwavelength campaign on NGC 5548 revealed an unusually strong X-ray obscuration. The resulting dramatic decrease in incident ionizing flux allowed us to construct a comprehensive physical, spatial and temporal picture for the long-studied AGN wind in this object. Here we analyze the UV spectra of the outflow acquired during the campaign as well as from four previous epochs. Read More

Affiliations: 1APC - Paris, 2APC - Paris, 3APC - Paris, 4UCLA, 5MPE - Garching, 6APC - Paris, 7APC - Paris

The supermassive black hole at the Galactic center, Sagittarius A*, has experienced periods of higher activity in the past. The reflection of these past outbursts is observed in the molecular material surrounding the black hole but reconstructing its precise lightcurve is difficult since the distribution of the clouds along the line of sight is poorly constrained. Using Chandra high-resolution data collected from 1999 to 2011 we studied both the 6. Read More

We present in this paper the results of a 270 ks Chandra HETGS observation in the context of a large multiwavelength campaign on the Seyfert galaxy Mrk 509. The HETGS spectrum allows us to study the high ionisation warm absorber and the Fe-K complex in Mrk 509. We search for variability in the spectral properties of the source with respect to previous observations in this campaign, as well as for evidence of ultra-fast outflow signatures. Read More

High resolution X-ray spectra of accreting stellar mass Black Holes reveal the presence of accretion disc winds, traced by high ionisation Fe K lines. These winds appear to have an equatorial geometry and to be observed only during disc dominated states in which the radio jet is absent. Accreting neutron star systems also show equatorial high ionisation absorbers. Read More

Affiliations: 1APC - Paris, 2APC - Paris, 3APC - Paris, 4CSNSM - Orsay, 5LAPP - Annecy, 6MPE - Garching, 7APC - Paris, 8CEA - Saclay

The origin of the iron fluorescent line at 6.4 keV from an extended region surrounding the Arches cluster is debated and the non-variability of this emission up to 2009 has favored the low-energy cosmic-ray origin over a possible irradiation by hard X-rays. By probing the variability of the Arches cloud non-thermal emission in the most recent years, including a deep observation in 2012, we intend to discriminate between the two competing scenarios. Read More

Supermassive black holes in the nuclei of active galaxies expel large amounts of matter through powerful winds of ionized gas. The archetypal active galaxy NGC 5548 has been studied for decades, and high-resolution X-ray and UV observations have previously shown a persistent ionized outflow. An observing campaign in 2013 with six space observatories shows the nucleus to be obscured by a long-lasting, clumpy stream of ionized gas never seen before. Read More

The recent discovery of a milli-second radio pulsar experiencing an accretion outburst similar to those seen in low mass X-ray binaries, has opened up a new opportunity to investigate the evolutionary link between these two different neutron star manifestations. The remarkable X-ray variability and hard X-ray spectrum of this object can potentially serve as a template to search for other X-ray binary/radio pulsar transitional objects. Here we demonstrate that the transient X-ray source XMM J174457-2850. Read More

Affiliations: 1University of Alberta, 2University of Alberta, 3University of Alberta, 4Columbia University, 5Astronomical Institute Anton Pannekoek, 6University of Michigan, 7Northwestern University, 8Astronomical Institute Anton Pannekoek, 9University of Southampton, 10University of Michigan, 11University of Southampton, 12McGill University, 13National Radio Astronomy Observatory, 14Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, 15University of Michigan

We report observations using the Swift/XRT, NuSTAR, and Chandra X-ray telescopes of the transient X-ray source CXOGC J174540.0-290005, during its 2013 outburst. Due to its location in the field of multiple observing campaigns targeting Sgr A*, this is one of the best-studied outbursts of a very faint X-ray binary (VFXB; peak $L_X<10^{36}$ erg/s) yet recorded, with detections in 173 ks of X-ray observations over 50 days. Read More

Understanding the dynamics behind black hole state transitions and the changes they reflect in outbursts has become long-standing problem. The X-ray reflection spectrum describes the interaction between the hard X-ray source (the power-law continuum) and the cool accretion disc it illuminates, and thus permits an indirect view of how the two evolve. We present a systematic analysis of the reflection spectrum throughout three outbursts (500+ observations) of the black hole binary GX 339-4, representing the largest study applying a self-consistent treatment of reflection to date. Read More

We present an analysis of five Suzaku observations of the bright Seyfert1 galaxy IC 4329A. The broad energy band and high signal-to-noise ratio of the data give new constraints on the iron K alpha line profile and its relationship with the Compton hump at higher energies. The Fe K bandpass is dominated by a narrow core (EW=57 eV) at 6. Read More

Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN) are the most luminous persistent objects in the universe. An excess of X-ray emission below about 2 keV, called soft-excess, is very common in Type 1 AGN spectra. The origin of this feature remains debated. Read More

Affiliations: 1Universita` Roma Tre, 2Universita` Roma Tre, 3Max Planck Institute fur Extraterrestriche Physik, 4Universita` Roma Tre, 5Universita` Roma Tre

We report the discovery of a luminosity distance estimator using Active Galactic Nuclei (AGN). We combine the correlation between the X-ray variability amplitude and the Black Hole (BH) mass with the single epoch spectra BH mass estimates which depend on the AGN luminosity and the line width emitted by the broad line region. We demonstrate that significant correlations do exist which allows one to predict the AGN (optical or X-ray) luminosity as a function of the AGN X-ray variability and either the HBeta or the PaBeta line widths. Read More