Volume 411, Number 2, November IV 2003
|Page(s)||63 - 70|
|Published online||17 November 2003|
XMM-Newton observation of the ULIRG NGC 6240
The physical nature of the complex Fe K line emission
Max-Planck-Institut für extraterrestrische Physik, Postfach 1312, 85741 Garching, Germany
2 Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, 3-1-1 Yoshinodai, Sagamihara, Kanagawa 229-8510, Japan
Corresponding author: Th. Boller, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 30 July 2003
We report on an XMM-Newton observation of the ultraluminous infrared galaxy NGC 6240. The 0.3–10 keV spectrum can be successfully modelled with: (i) three collisionally ionized plasma components with temperatures of about 0.7, 1.4, and 5.5 keV; (ii) a highly absorbed direct power-law component; and (iii) a neutral Fe K and K line. We detect a significant neutral column density gradient which is correlated with the temperature of the three plasma components. Combining the XMM-Newton spectral model with the high spatial resolution Chandra image we find that the temperatures and the column densities increase towards the center. With high significance, the Fe K line complex is resolved into three distinct narrow lines: (i) the neutral Fe K line at 6.4 keV; (ii) an ionized line at about 6.7 keV; and (iii) a higher ionized line at 7.0 keV (a blend of the Fe XXVI and the Fe K line). While the neutral Fe K line is most probably due to reflection from optically thick material, the Fe XXV and Fe XXVI emission arises from the highest temperature ionized plasma component. We have compared the plasma parameters of the ultraluminous infrared galaxy NGC 6240 with those found in the local starburst galaxy NGC 253. We find a striking similarity in the plasma temperatures and column density gradients, suggesting a similar underlying physical process at work in both galaxies.
Key words: galaxies: active / galaxies: individual: NGC 6240 / galaxies: starburst / X-rays: galaxies
© ESO, 2003
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