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Title: Fast and Furious: Shock heated gas as the origin of spatially resolved hard X-ray emission in the central 5 kpc of the galaxy merger NGC 6240

We have obtained a deep, subarcsecond resolution X-ray image of the nuclear region of the luminous galaxy merger NGC 6240 with Chandra, which resolves the X-ray emission from the pair of active nuclei and the diffuse hot gas in great detail. We detect extended hard X-ray emission from kT ∼ 6 keV (∼70 MK) hot gas over a spatial scale of 5 kpc, indicating the presence of fast shocks with a velocity of ∼2200 km s{sup –1}. For the first time, we obtain the spatial distribution of this highly ionized gas emitting Fe XXV, which shows a remarkable correspondence to the large-scale morphology of H{sub 2}(1-0) S(1) line emission and Hα filaments. Propagation of fast shocks originating in the starburst-driven wind into the ambient dense gas can account for this morphological correspondence. With an observed L {sub 0.5-8} {sub keV} = 5.3 × 10{sup 41} erg s{sup –1}, the diffuse hard X-ray emission is ∼100 times more luminous than that observed in the classic starburst galaxy M82. Assuming a filling factor of 1% for the 70 MK temperature gas, we estimate its total mass (M {sub hot} = 1.8 × 10{sup 8} M {sub ☉}) and thermal energy (E {submore » th} = 6.5 × 10{sup 57} erg). The total iron mass in the highly ionized plasma is M {sub Fe} = 4.6 × 10{sup 5} M {sub ☉}. Both the energetics and the iron mass in the hot gas are consistent with the expected injection from the supernovae explosion during the starburst that is commensurate with its high star formation rate. No evidence for fluorescent Fe I emission is found in the CO filament connecting the two nuclei.« less
Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4]
  1. Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States)
  2. Dipartimento di Astronomia, Universitá di Bologna, Via Ranzani 1, I-40127 Bologna (Italy)
  3. Center for Adaptive Optics, University of California, 1156 High Street, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 (United States)
  4. Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, HI 96822 (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
22348156
Resource Type:
Journal Article
Resource Relation:
Journal Name: Astrophysical Journal; Journal Volume: 781; Journal Issue: 1; Other Information: Country of input: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
79 ASTROPHYSICS, COSMOLOGY AND ASTRONOMY; CARBON MONOXIDE; EXPLOSIONS; FILAMENTS; FLUORESCENCE; HARD X RADIATION; HYDROGEN; IMAGES; INJECTION; KEV RANGE; MASS; PLASMA; RESOLUTION; SPATIAL DISTRIBUTION; SUPERNOVAE; VELOCITY; X-RAY GALAXIES