Dissecting X-ray-emitting gas around the center of our galaxy

Q. D. Wang, M. A. Nowak, S. B. Markoff, F. K. Baganoff, S. Nayakshin, F. Yuan, J. Cuadra, J. Davis, J. Dexter, A. C. Fabian, N. Grosso, D. Haggard, J. Houck, L. Ji, Z. Li, J. Neilsen, D. Porquet, F. Ripple, R. V. Shcherbakov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

211 Scopus citations

Abstract

Most supermassive black holes (SMBHs) are accreting at very low levels and are difficult to distinguish from the galaxy centers where they reside. Our own Galaxy's SMBH provides an instructive exception, and we present a close-up view of its quiescent x-ray emission based on 3 megaseconds of Chandra observations. Although the x-ray emission is elongated and aligns well with a surrounding disk of massive stars, we can rule out a concentration of low-mass coronally active stars as the origin of the emission on the basis of the lack of predicted iron (Fe) Kα emission. The extremely weak hydrogen (H)-like Fe Kα line further suggests the presence of an outflow from the accretion flow onto the SMBH. These results provide important constraints for models of the prevalent radiatively inefficient accretion state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)981-983
Number of pages3
JournalScience
Volume341
Issue number6149
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

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