Suzaku and XMM-Newton observations of the North Polar Spur: Charge exchange or ISM absorption?
1 SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Sorbonnelaan 2, 3584 CA Utrecht, The Netherlands
2 Leiden Observatory, Leiden University, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
Received: 30 March 2016
Accepted: 27 July 2016
By revisiting the Suzaku and XMM-Newton data of the North Polar Spur, we discovered that the spectra are inconsistent with the traditional model consisting of pure thermal emission and neutral absorption. The most prominent discrepancies are the enhanced O vii and Ne ix forbidden-to-resonance ratios, and a high O viii Lyβ line relative to other Lyman series. A collisionally ionized absorption model can naturally explain both features, while a charge exchange component can only account for the former. By including the additional ionized absorption, the plasma in the North Polar Spur can be described by a single-phase collisional ionization equilibrium (CIE) component with a temperature of 0.25 keV, and nitrogen, oxygen, neon, magnesium, and iron abundances of 0.4−0.8 solar. The abundance pattern of the North Polar Spur is well in line with those of the Galactic halo stars. The high nitrogen-to-oxygen ratio reported in previous studies can be migrated to the large transmission of the O viii Lyα line. The ionized absorber is characterized by a balance temperature of 0.17−0.20 keV and a column density of 3−5 × 1019 cm-2. Based on the derived abundances and absorption, we speculate that the North Polar Spur is a structure in the Galactic halo, so that the emission is mostly absorbed by the Galactic interstellar medium in the line of sight.
Key words: ISM: structure / ISM: individual objects: North Polar Spur / ISM: abundances / X-rays: ISM
© ESO, 2016