On the Putative Detection of Z>0 X-Ray Absorption Features in the Spectrum of Mrk 421

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In a series of papers, Nicastro et al. have claimed the detection of z > 0 O VII absorption features in the spectrum of Mrk 421 obtained with the Chandra Low Energy Transmission Grating Spectrometer (LETGS). We evaluate those claims in the context of a high quality spectrum of the same source obtained with the Reflection Grating Spectrometer (RGS) on XMM-Newton. The data comprise over 955 ksec of usable exposure time and more than 2.6 x 10{sup 4} counts per 50 m{angstrom} at 21.6 {angstrom}. We concentrate on the spectrally clean region (21.3 < {lambda} < 22.5 {angstrom}) where sharp ... continued below

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19 pages

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Rasmussen, Andrew P.; /SLAC /KIPAC, Menlo Park; Kahn, Steven M.; /SLAC /KIPAC, Menlo Park /Stanford U., Phys. Dept.; Paerels, Frits; /Columbia U., Astron. Astrophys. et al. April 28, 2006.

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Description

In a series of papers, Nicastro et al. have claimed the detection of z > 0 O VII absorption features in the spectrum of Mrk 421 obtained with the Chandra Low Energy Transmission Grating Spectrometer (LETGS). We evaluate those claims in the context of a high quality spectrum of the same source obtained with the Reflection Grating Spectrometer (RGS) on XMM-Newton. The data comprise over 955 ksec of usable exposure time and more than 2.6 x 10{sup 4} counts per 50 m{angstrom} at 21.6 {angstrom}. We concentrate on the spectrally clean region (21.3 < {lambda} < 22.5 {angstrom}) where sharp features due to the astrophysically abundant O VII may reveal an intervening, warm-hot intergalactic medium (WHIM). In spite of the fact that the sensitivity of the RGS data is higher than that of the original LETGS data presented by Nicastro et al., we do not confirm detection of any of the intervening systems claimed to date. Rather, we detect only three unsurprising, astrophysically expected features down to the log (N{sub i}) {approx} 14.6 (3{sigma}) sensitivity level. Each of the two purported WHIM features is rejected with a statistical confidence that exceeds that reported for its initial detection. While we can not rule out the existence of fainter, WHIM related features in these spectra, we suggest that previous discovery claims were premature. A more recent paper by Williams et al. claims to have demonstrated that the RGS data we analyze here do not have the resolution or statistical quality required to confirm or deny the LETGS detections. We show that the Williams et al. reduction of the RGS data was highly flawed, leading to an artificial and spurious degradation of the instrument response. We carefully highlight the differences between our analysis presented here and those published by Williams et al.

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19 pages

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  • Report No.: SLAC-PUB-11845
  • Grant Number: AC02-76SF00515
  • DOI: 10.2172/881779 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 881779
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc886005

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  • April 28, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Dec. 6, 2016, 2:28 p.m.

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Rasmussen, Andrew P.; /SLAC /KIPAC, Menlo Park; Kahn, Steven M.; /SLAC /KIPAC, Menlo Park /Stanford U., Phys. Dept.; Paerels, Frits; /Columbia U., Astron. Astrophys. et al. On the Putative Detection of Z>0 X-Ray Absorption Features in the Spectrum of Mrk 421, report, April 28, 2006; [Menlo Park, California]. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc886005/: accessed December 14, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.