Chandra and XMM-Newton Observations of NGC 6251

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (Impact Factor: 5.23). 02/2005; DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2005.08900.x
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT We present new X-ray observations of the nucleus, jet and extended emission of the nearby radio galaxy NGC 6251 using the Chandra/ACIS-S camera, together with a reanalysis of archival Chandra/ACIS-I and XMM-Newton/EPIC data. We find that the nuclear X-ray spectrum is well-fitted with an absorbed power-law, and that there is tentative, but not highly significant, evidence for Fe K$\alpha$ emission. We argue that the observed nuclear X-ray emission is likely to originate in a relativistic jet, based on the double-peaked nature, and our synchrotron self-Compton modelling, of the radio-to-X-ray spectral energy distribution. However, we cannot rule out a contribution from an accretion flow. We resolve X-ray jet emission in three distinct regions, and argue in favour of a synchrotron origin for all three; inverse-Compton emission models are possible but require extreme parameters. We detect thermal emission on both galaxy and group scales, and demonstrate that hot gas can confine the jet, particularly if relativistic beaming is important. We show evidence that the radio lobe has evacuated a cavity in the X-ray-emitting gas, and suggest that the lobe is close to the plane of the sky, with the jet entering the lobe close to the surface nearest to the observer. Comment: 27 pages, 17 figures. Accepted for publication in MNRAS. Minor typographical issues updated

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