Probing the Interstellar Dust towards the Galactic Centre: Dust Scattering Halo around AX J1745.6-2901

AX J1745.6-2901 is an X-ray binary located at only 1.45 arcmin from Sgr A*, showcasing a strong X-ray dust scattering halo. We combine Chandra and XMM-Newton observations to study the halo around this X-ray binary. Our study shows two major thick dust layers along the line of sight (LOS) towards AX J1745.6-2901. The LOS position and $N_{H}$ of these two layers depend on the dust grain models with different grain size distribution and abundances. But for all the 19 dust grain models considered, dust Layer-1 is consistently found to be within a fractional distance of 0.11 (mean value: 0.05) to AX J1745.6-2901 and contains only (19-34)% (mean value: 26%) of the total LOS dust. The remaining dust is contained in Layer-2, which is distributed from the Earth up to a mean fractional distance of 0.64. A significant separation between the two layers is found for all the dust grain models, with a mean fractional distance of 0.31. Besides, an extended wing component is discovered in the halo, which implies a higher fraction of dust grains with typical sizes $\lesssim$ 590 \AA\ than considered in current dust grain models. Assuming AX J1745.6-2901 is 8 kpc away, dust Layer-2 would be located in the Galactic disk several kpc away from the Galactic Centre (GC). The dust scattering halo biases the observed spectrum of AX J1745.6-2901 severely in both spectral shape and flux, and also introduces a strong dependence on the size of the instrumental point spread function and the source extraction region. We build Xspec models to account for this spectral bias, which allow us to recover the intrinsic spectrum of AX J1745.6-2901 free from dust scattering opacity. If dust Layer-2 also intervenes along the LOS to Sgr A* and other nearby GC sources, a significant spectral correction for the dust scattering opacity would be necessary for all these GC sources.

Comments: 20 pages, 18 figures, 5 tables, accepted for publication in MNRAS

Similar Publications

We performed an analysis of all RXTE observations of the Low Mass X-ray Binary and Black Hole Candidate IGR J17091-3624 during the 2011-2013 outburst of the source. By creating lightcurves, hardness-intensity diagrams and power density spectra of each observation, we have created a set of 9 variability `classes' that phenomenologically describe the range of types of variability seen in this object. We compare our set of variability classes to those established by Belloni et al. Read More

Multiwavelength followup of unidentified Fermi sources has vastly expanded the number of known galactic-field "black widow" and "redback" millisecond pulsar binaries. Focusing on their rotation-powered state, we interpret the radio to X-ray phenomenology in a consistent framework. We advocate the existence of two distinct modes differing in their intrabinary shock orientation, distinguished by the phase-centering of the double-peaked X-ray orbital modulation originating from mildly-relativistic Doppler boosting. Read More

We report on unusually very hard spectral states in three confirmed neutron-star low-mass X-ray binaries (1RXS J180408.9-342058, EXO 1745-248, and IGR J18245-2452) at a luminosity between ~ 10^{36-37} erg s^{-1}. When fitting the Swift X-ray spectra (0. Read More

Transitional millisecond pulsars (tMSPs) switch between an accretion-powered state without radio pulsations and a rotation-powered state with radio pulsations. In the former state, they are X-ray bright, in the latter X-ray dim. Soft X-ray transients (SXTs) undergo similar switches in X-ray, between "high" states with bright X-ray outbursts and a "low" state of quiescence. Read More

TUS is the world's first orbital detector of extreme energy cosmic rays (EECRs), which operates as a part of the scientific payload of the Lomonosov satellite since May 19, 2016. TUS employs the nocturnal atmosphere of the Earth to register ultraviolet (UV) fluorescence and Cherenkov radiation of extensive air showers generated by EECRs as well as UV radiation from lightning strikes and transient luminous events, micro-meteors and space debris. The first months of its operation in orbit have demonstrated an unexpectedly rich variety of UV radiation in the atmosphere. Read More

The extended nebulae formed as pulsar winds expand into their surroundings provide information about the composition of the winds, the injection history from the host pulsar, and the material into which the nebulae are expanding. Observations from across the electromagnetic spectrum provide constraints on the evolution of the nebulae, the density and composition of the surrounding ejecta, the geometry of the central engines, and the long-term fate of the energetic particles produced in these systems. Such observations reveal the presence of jets and wind termination shocks, time-varying compact emission structures, shocked supernova ejecta, and newly formed dust. Read More

Type Ia supernovae are associated with thermonuclear explosions of white dwarf stars. Combustion processes convert material in nuclear reactions and release the energy required to explode the stars. At the same time, they produce the radioactive species that power radiation and give rise to the formation of the observables. Read More

Compact stars with significant high densities in their interiors can give rise to quark deconfined phases that can open a window for the study of strongly interacting dense nuclear matter. Recent observations on the mass of two pulsars, PSR J1614-2230 and PSR J0348+0432, have posed a great restriction on their composition, since their equations of state must be hard enough to support masses of about at least two solar masses. The onset of quarks tends to soften the equation of state, but due to their strong interactions, different phases can be realized with new parameters that affect the corresponding equations of state and ultimately the mass-radius relationships. Read More

The repeating FRB 121102 (the "repeater") shows active bursting activities and was localized in a host galaxy at $z=0.193$. On the other hand, despite hundreds of hours of telescope time spent on follow-up observations, no other FRBs have been observed to repeat. Read More