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Schonherr G.,Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam | Schwarm F.-W.,Dr. Remeis Sternwarte and ECAP | Falkner S.,Dr. Remeis Sternwarte and ECAP | Dauser T.,Dr. Remeis Sternwarte and ECAP | And 12 more authors.
Astronomy and Astrophysics | Year: 2014

Context. Accretion-powered X-ray pulsars show highly energy-dependent and complex pulse-profile morphologies. Significant deviations from the average pulse profile can appear, in particular close to the cyclotron line energies. These deviations can be described as energy-dependent phase lags, that is, as energy-dependent shifts of main features in the pulse profile. Aims. Using a numerical study we explore the effect of cyclotron resonant scattering on observable, energy-resolved pulse profiles. Methods. We generated the observable emission as a function of spin phase, using Monte Carlo simulations for cyclotron resonant scattering and a numerical ray-tracing routine accounting for general relativistic light-bending effects on the intrinsic emission from the accretion columns. Results. We find strong changes in the pulse profile coincident with the cyclotron line energies. Features in the pulse profile vary strongly with respect to the average pulse profile with the observing geometry and shift and smear out in energy additionally when assuming a non-static plasma. Conclusions. We demonstrate how phase lags at the cyclotron energies arise as a consequence of the effects of angular redistribution of X-rays by cyclotron resonance scattering in a strong magnetic field combined with relativistic effects. We also show that phase lags are strongly dependent on the accretion geometry. These intrinsic effects will in principle allow us to constrain a system's accretion geometry. © 2014 ESO. Source


Rothschild R.E.,University of California at San Diego | Markowitz A.,University of California at San Diego | Rivers E.,University of California at San Diego | Suchy S.,University of California at San Diego | And 5 more authors.
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2011

The Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) has observed the nearest radio galaxy, Centaurus A (Cen A), in 13 intervals from 1996 August to 2009 February over the 3-200 keV band. Spectra accumulated over the 13 intervals were well described with an absorbed power law and an iron line. Cutoff power laws and Compton reflection from cold matter did not provide a better description. For the 2009 January observation, we set a lower limit on the cutoff energy at over 2 MeV. The power spectral density function was generated from RXTE/All Sky Monitor and Proportional Counter Array data as well as an XMM-Newton long look, and clear evidence for a break at 18+18 -7 days (68% conf.) was seen. Given Cen A's high black hole mass and very low value of L X/L Edd, the break was a factor of 17+36 -13 times higher than the break frequency predicted by the McHardy et al. relation, which was empirically derived for a sample of objects, which are radio-quiet and accreting at relatively high values of L bol/L Edd. We have interpreted our observations in the context of a clumpy molecular torus. The variability characteristics and the broadband spectral energy distribution, when compared to Seyferts, imply that the bright hard X-ray continuum emission may originate at the base of the jet, yet from behind the absorbing line-of-sight material, in contrast to what is commonly observed from blazars. © 2011. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.. Source


Schonherr G.,Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics Potsdam | Schwarm F.,Dr. Remeis Sternwarte and ECAP | Falkner S.,Dr. Remeis Sternwarte and ECAP | Becker P.,George Mason University | And 13 more authors.
EPJ Web of Conferences | Year: 2014

The emission characteristics of X-ray pulsars are governed by magnetospheric accretion within the Alfvén radius, leading to a direct coupling of accretion column properties and interactions at the magnetosphere. The complexity of the physical processes governing the formation of radiation within the accreted, strongly magnetized plasma has led to several sophisticated theoretical modelling efforts over the last decade, dedicated to either the formation of the broad band continuum, the formation of cyclotron resonance scattering features (CRSFs) or the formation of pulse profiles. While these individual approaches are powerful in themselves, they quickly reach their limits when aiming at a quantitative comparison to observational data. Too many fundamental parameters, describing the formation of the accretion columns and the systems' overall geometry are unconstrained and different models are often based on different fundamental assumptions, while everything is intertwined in the observed, highly phase-dependent spectra and energy-dependent pulse profiles. To name just one example: the (phase variable) line width of the CRSFs is highly dependent on the plasma temperature, the existence of B-field gradients (geometry) and observation angle, parameters which, in turn, drive the continuum radiation and are driven by the overall two-pole geometry for the light bending model respectively. This renders a parallel assessment of all available spectral and timing information by a compatible across-models-approach indispensable. In a collaboration of theoreticians and observers, we have been working on a model unification project over the last years, bringing together theoretical calculations of the Comptonized continuum, Monte Carlo simulations and Radiation Transfer calculations of CRSFs as well as a General Relativity (GR) light bending model for ray tracing of the incident emission pattern from both magnetic poles. The ultimate goal is to implement a unified fitting model for phase-resolved spectral and timing data analysis. We present the current status of this project. © 2014 Owned by the authors. Source


Tamburini C.,Aix - Marseille University | Tamburini C.,University of Toulon | Canals M.,University of Barcelona | Durrieu de Madron X.,University of Perpignan | And 175 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2013

The deep ocean is the largest and least known ecosystem on Earth. It hosts numerous pelagic organisms, most of which are able to emit light. Here we present a unique data set consisting of a 2.5-year long record of light emission by deep-sea pelagic organisms, measured from December 2007 to June 2010 at the ANTARES underwater neutrino telescope in the deep NW Mediterranean Sea, jointly with synchronous hydrological records. This is the longest continuous time-series of deep-sea bioluminescence ever recorded. Our record reveals several weeks long, seasonal bioluminescence blooms with light intensity up to two orders of magnitude higher than background values, which correlate to changes in the properties of deep waters. Such changes are triggered by the winter cooling and evaporation experienced by the upper ocean layer in the Gulf of Lion that leads to the formation and subsequent sinking of dense water through a process known as "open-sea convection". It episodically renews the deep water of the study area and conveys fresh organic matter that fuels the deep ecosystems. Luminous bacteria most likely are the main contributors to the observed deep-sea bioluminescence blooms. Our observations demonstrate a consistent and rapid connection between deep open-sea convection and bathypelagic biological activity, as expressed by bioluminescence. In a setting where dense water formation events are likely to decline under global warming scenarios enhancing ocean stratification, in situ observatories become essential as environmental sentinels for the monitoring and understanding of deep-sea ecosystem shifts. © 2013 Tamburini et al. Source

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