Volume 394, Number 1, October IV 2002
|Page(s)||7 - 15|
|Published online||04 October 2002|
Warm-hot intergalactic baryons revealed
Dipartimento di Astronomia e Scienza dello Spazio, Largo E. Fermi 2, 50125 Firenze, Italy
2 Centro per l'Astronomia Infrarossa e lo studio del mezzo interstellare (CAISMI), CNR, Largo E. Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy
3 Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri, Largo E. Fermi 5, 50125 Firenze, Italy
4 Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Giessenbachstraße, 85748 Garching, Germany
5 Department of Physical Sciences, University of Hertfordshire, College Lane, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL10 9AB, UK
Corresponding author: R. Maiolino, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 29 July 2002
Several popular cosmological models predict that most of the baryonic mass in the local universe is located in filamentary and sheet-like structures associated with galaxy overdensities. This gas is expected to be gravitationally heated to ~106 K and therefore emitting in the soft X-rays. We have detected diffuse soft X-ray structures in a high Galactic latitude ROSAT field after point source subtraction and correction for Galactic absorption. These diffuse structures have an X-ray energy distribution that is much softer than expected from clusters, groups or unresolved emission from AGNs, but are consistent with that expected from a diffuse warm intergalactic medium. To discriminate between a Galactic or extragalactic nature of the diffuse gas we have correlated the soft X–map with multiband optical images in this field. We have found a significant overdensity of galaxies in correspondence with the strongest diffuse X-ray structure. The photometric redshift distribution of the galaxies over the X-ray peak has an excess over field galaxies at . This result strongly suggests that the diffuse X-ray flux is due to extragalactic emission by warm gas associated with an overdense galaxy region at .
Key words: large-scale structure of Universe / X-rays: diffuse background
© ESO, 2002
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