A. Tiengo

Istituto Universitario di Studi Superiori di Pavia, Ticinum, Lombardy, Italy

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Publications (183)582.79 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Diffuse radio emission was detected around the soft gamma-ray repeater SGR 1806-20, after its 2004 powerful giant flare. We study the possible extended X-ray emission at small scales around SGR 1806-20, in two observations by the High Resolution Camera Spectrometer (HRC-S) on board of the Chandra X-ray Observatory: in 2005, 115 days after the giant flare, and in 2013, during quiescence. We compare the radial profiles extracted from data images and PSF simulations, carefully considering various issues related with the uncertain calibration of the HRC PSF at sub-arcsecond scales. We do not see statistically significant excesses pointing to an extended emission on scales of arcseconds. As a consequence, SGR 1806-20 is compatible with being point-like in X-rays, months after the giant flare, as well as in quiescence.
    Journal of High Energy Astrophysics. 11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: X-ray observations of sdO stars are a useful tool to investigate their properties, but so far only two sdO stars were detected at X-rays. We observed a complete flux-limited sample of 19 sdO stars with the Chandra HRC-I camera to measure the count rate of the detected sources or to set a tight upper limit on it for the undetected sources. We obtained a robust detection of BD+37 1977 and Feige 34 and a marginal detection of BD+28 4211. The estimated luminosity of BD+37 1977 is above 10^31 erg/s, which is high enough to suggest the possible presence of an accreting compact companion. This possibility is unlikely for all the other targets (both detected and undetected), since in their case L_X < 10^30 erg/s. On the other hand, for all 19 targets the estimated value of L_X (or its upper limit) implies an X-ray/bolometric flux ratio that agrees with log(L_X/L_bol) = -6.7 +/- 0.5, which is the range of values typical of main-sequence and giant O stars. Therefore, for Feige 34 and BD+28 4211 the observed X-ray flux is most probably due to intrinsic emission. The same is possibile for the 16 undetected stars.
    04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Little observational data are available on the weak stellar winds of hot subdwarf stars of B spectral type (sdB). Close binary systems composed of an sdB star and a compact object (white dwarf, neutron star or black hole) could be detected as accretion-powered X-ray sources. The study of their X-ray emission can probe the properties of line-driven winds of sdB stars that can not be derived directly from spectroscopy because of the low luminosity of these stars. Here we report on the first sensitive X-ray observations of two sdB binaries with compact companions. CD -30 11223 is the sdB binary with the shortest known orbital period (1.2 h) and its companion is certainly a white dwarf. PG 1232-136 is an sdB binary considered the best candidate to host a black hole companion. We observed these stars with XMM-Newton in August 2013 for 50 ks and in July 2009 for 36 ks, respectively. None of them was detected and we derived luminosity upper limits of about 1.5x10^29 erg/s for CD -30 11223 5x10^29 erg/s for PG 1232-136. The corresponding mass loss rate for PG 1232-136 is poorly constrained, owing to the unknown efficiency for black hole accretion. On the other hand, in the case of CD -30 11223 we could derive, under reasonable assumptions, an upper limit of about 3x10^-13 solar masses/yr on the wind mass loss rate from the sdB star. This is one of the few observational constraints on the weak winds expected in this class of low mass hot stars. We also report the results on the X-ray emission from a cluster of galaxies serendipitously discovered in the field of CD -30 11223.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 04/2014; 441(3). · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The source IGR J17200-3116 was discovered in the hard X-ray band by INTEGRAL. A periodic X-ray modulation at ~326 s was detected in its Swift light curves by our group (and subsequently confirmed by a Swift campaign). In this paper, we report on the analysis of all the Swift observations, which were collected between 2005 and 2011, and of a ~20 ks XMM-Newton pointing that was carried out in 2013 September. During the years covered by the Swift and XMM-Newton observations, the 1-10 keV fluxes range from ~1.5 to 4E-11 erg/cm^2/s. IGR J17200-3116 displays spectral variability as a function of the pulse phase and its light curves show at least one short (a few hundreds of seconds) dip, during which the flux dropped at 20-30% of the average level. Overall, the timing and spectral characteristics of IGR J17200-3116 point to an accreting neutron star in a high-mass system but, while the pulse-phase spectral variability can be accounted for by assuming a variable local absorbing column density, the origin of the dip is unclear. We discuss different possible explanations for this feature, favouring a transition to an ineffective accretion regime, instead of an enhanced absorption along the line of sight.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 04/2014; 441(2). · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: An absorption feature, the properties of which strongly depend on the pulse phase, has been recently discovered in the X-ray spectrum of the soft gamma repeater SGR0418+5729. If interpreted as a proton cyclotron line, its energy implies a magnetic field ranging from 2× 1014 G to more than 1015 G, which confirms the magnetar interpretation for this source and provides us with the most direct measurement of the magnetic field intensity of an isolated neutron star. The lower value of the dipole field inferred from the timing parameters for SGR 0418+5729 (B = 6× 1012 G) requires that the high magnetic field responsible for the observed feature resides in a strong multi-polar component located close to the neutron star surface, in agreement with the predictions of the magnetar model. (© 2014 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)
    Astronomische Nachrichten 03/2014; 335(3). · 1.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report on the quiescent state of the Soft Gamma Repeater SGR 0501+4516 observed by XMM-Newton on 2009 August 30. The source exhibits an absorbed flux ~75 times lower than that measured at the peak of the 2008 outburst, and a rather soft spectrum, with the same value of the blackbody temperature observed with ROSAT back in 1992. This new observation is put into the context of all existing X-ray data since its discovery in August 2008, allowing us to complete the study of the timing and spectral evolution of the source from outburst until its quiescent state. The set of deep XMM-Newton observations performed during the few-years timescale of its outburst allows us to monitor the spectral characteristics of this magnetar as a function of its rotational period, and their evolution along these years. After the first ~10 days, the initially hot and bright surface spot progressively cooled down during the decay. We discuss the behaviour of this magnetar in the context of its simulated secular evolution, inferring a plausible dipolar field at birth of 3x10^14 G, and a current (magneto-thermal) age of ~10 kyr.
    12/2013; 438(4).
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    ABSTRACT: After more than ten years of operation of the EPIC camera on board the X-ray observatory XMM-Newton, we have reviewed the status of its Thin and Medium filters by performing both laboratory measurements on back-up filters, and analysis of data collected in-flight. We have selected a set of Thin and Medium back-up filters among those still available in the EPIC consortium, and have started a program to investigate their status by different laboratory measurements including: UV/VIS transmission, X-ray transmission, RAMAN IR spectroscopy, X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy, and Atomic Force Microscopy. We report the results of the measurements conducted up to now, and point out some lessons learned for the development and calibration programs of filters for X-ray detectors in future Astronomy missions.
    Proc SPIE 09/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: After more than ten years of operation of the EPIC camera on board the X-ray observatory XMM-Newton we have reviewed the status of its thin and medium filters by performing both analysis of data collected in-flight and laboratory measurements on on-ground back-up filters. We have investigated the status of the EPIC thin and medium filters by performing an analysis of the optical loading in the PN offset maps to gauge variations in the optical and UV transmission of the filters. We both investigated repeated observations of single optically bright targets and performed a statistical analysis of the extent of loading versus visual magnitude at different epochs. We report the results of these measurements.
    Proc SPIE 09/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Soft-γ-ray repeaters (SGRs) and anomalous X-ray pulsars (AXPs) are slowly rotating, isolated neutron stars that sporadically undergo episodes of long-term flux enhancement (outbursts) generally accompanied by the emission of short bursts of hard X-rays. This behaviour can be understood in the magnetar model, according to which these sources are mainly powered by their own magnetic energy. This is supported by the fact that the magnetic fields inferred from several observed properties of SGRs and AXPs are greater than-or at the high end of the range of-those of radio pulsars. In the peculiar case of SGR 0418+5729, a weak dipole magnetic moment is derived from its timing parameters, whereas a strong field has been proposed to reside in the stellar interior and in multipole components on the surface. Here we show that the X-ray spectrum of SGR 0418+5729 has an absorption line, the properties of which depend strongly on the star's rotational phase. This line is interpreted as a proton cyclotron feature and its energy implies a magnetic field ranging from 2 × 10(14) gauss to more than 10(15) gauss.
    Nature 08/2013; 500(7462):312-4. · 38.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The old pulsar PSR B0943+10 (P=1.1 s, characteristic age tau=5 Myr) is the best example of mode-switching radio pulsar. Its radio emission alternates between a highly organized state with regular drifting subpulses (B mode) and a chaotic emission pattern (Q mode). We present the results of XMM-Newton observations showing that the X-ray properties of PSR B0943+10 depend on its radio state (Hermsen et al. 2013). During the radio fainter state (Q mode) the X-ray flux is more than a factor two larger than during the B-mode and X-ray pulsations with about 50% pulsed fraction are detected. The X-ray emission of PSR B0943+10 in the B-mode is well described by thermal emission with blackbody temperature kT=0.26 keV coming from a small hot spot with luminosity of 7x10^28 erg/s, in good agreement with the prediction of the partially screened gap model, which also explains the properties of the radio emission in this mode. We derived an upper limit of 46% on the X-ray pulsed fraction in the B-mode, consistent with the geometry and viewing angle of PSR B0943+10 inferred from the radio data. The higher flux observed during the Q-mode is consistent with the appearance of an additional component with a power-law spectrum with photon index 2.2. We interpret it as pulsed non-thermal X-rays produced in the star magnetosphere. A small change in the beaming pattern or in the efficiency of acceleration of the particles responsible for the non-thermal emission can explain the reduced flux of this component during the radio B-mode.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 08/2013; 435(3). · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Local-Group galaxies provide access to samples of X-ray source populations of whole galaxies. The XMM-Newton survey of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) completely covers the bar and eastern wing with a 5.6 deg^2 area in the (0.2-12.0) keV band. To characterise the X-ray sources in the SMC field, we created a catalogue of point sources and sources with moderate extent. Sources with high extent (>40") have been presented in a companion paper. We searched for point sources in the EPIC images using sliding-box and maximum-likelihood techniques and classified the sources using hardness ratios, X-ray variability, and their multi-wavelength properties. The catalogue comprises 3053 unique X-ray sources with a median position uncertainty of 1.3" down to a flux limit for point sources of ~10^-14 erg cm^-2 s^-1 in the (0.2-4.5) keV band, corresponding to 5x10^33 erg s^-1 for sources in the SMC. We discuss statistical properties, like the spatial distribution, X-ray colour diagrams, luminosity functions, and time variability. We identified 49 SMC high-mass X-ray binaries (HMXB), four super-soft X-ray sources (SSS), 34 foreground stars, and 72 active galactic nuclei (AGN) behind the SMC. In addition, we found candidates for SMC HMXBs (45) and faint SSSs (8) as well as AGN (2092) and galaxy clusters (13). We present the most up-to-date catalogue of the X-ray source population in the SMC field. In particular, the known population of X-ray binaries is greatly increased. We find that the bright-end slope of the luminosity function of Be/X-ray binaries significantly deviates from the expected universal high-mass X-ray binary luminosity function.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 07/2013; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The center of our Galaxy hosts a supermassive black hole, Sagittarius (Sgr) A*. Young, massive stars within 0.5 pc of SgrA* are evidence of an episode of intense star formation near the black hole a few Myr ago, which might have left behind a young neutron star traveling deep into SgrA*'s gravitational potential. On 2013 April 25, a short X-ray burst was observed from the direction of the Galactic center. Thanks to a series of observations with the Chandra and the Swift satellites, we pinpoint the associated magnetar at an angular distance of 2.4+/-0.3 arcsec from SgrA*, and refine the source spin period and its derivative (P=3.7635537(2) s and \dot{P} = 6.61(4)x10^{-12} s/s), confirmed by quasi simultaneous radio observations performed with the Green Bank (GBT) and Parkes antennas, which also constrain a Dispersion Measure of DM=1750+/-50 pc cm^{-3}, the highest ever observed for a radio pulsar. We have found that this X-ray source is a young magnetar at ~0.07-2 pc from SgrA*. Simulations of its possible motion around SgrA* show that it is likely (~90% probability) in a bound orbit around the black hole. The radiation front produced by the past activity from the magnetar passing through the molecular clouds surrounding the Galactic center region, might be responsible for a large fraction of the light echoes observed in the Fe fluorescence features.
    The Astrophysical Journal Letters 07/2013; 775(2). · 6.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The XMM-Newton survey of the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) yields a complete coverage of the bar and eastern wing in the 0.2-12.0keV band. This catalogue comprises 3053 unique X-ray point sources and sources with moderate extent that have been reduced from 5236 individual detections found in observations between April 2000 and April 2010. Sources have a median position uncertainty of 1.3" (1σ) and limiting fluxes down to ~1*10-14erg/s/cm2 in the 0.2-4.5keV band, corresponding to 5*1033erg/s for sources in the SMC. Sources have been classified using hardness ratios, X-ray variability, and their multi-wavelength properties. In addition to the main-field (5.58deg2) available outer fields have been included in the catalogue, yielding a total field area of 6.32deg2. X-ray sources with high extent (>40", e.g. supernova remnants and galaxy cluster) have been presented by Haberl et al. (2012, Cat. J/A+A/545/A128) (2 data files).
    VizieR Online Data Catalog. 07/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: We report on the main results obtained thanks to an observation campaign with XMM-Newton of four persistent, low-luminosity (Lx ~ 10^34 erg/s) and long-period (P > 200 s) Be accreting pulsars. We found that all sources considered here are characterized by a spectral excess that can be described with a blackbody component of high temperature (kTbb > 1 keV) and small area (Rbb < 0.5 km). We show that: 1) this feature is a common property of several low-luminosity X-ray binaries; 2) for most sources the blackbody parameters (radius and temperature) are within a narrow range of values; 3) it can be interpreted as emission from the NS polar caps.
    Central European Astrophysical Bulletin. 06/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: The study of both supernova remnants and the hot and cold phases of the interstellar medium are essential for understanding the final stages of stellar evolution and their feedback on the evolution of galaxies through injection of energy and heavy elements. These studies are also crucial for understanding the physics of supernovae, their cosmological implication, and the origin of galactic cosmic rays. The unique capabilities of Athena+ will allow us to explore a new parameter space. Spatially-resolved high-resolution spectroscopy using Athena+ X-IFU of young remnants will allow to characterize individual parcels of ejected material in the line of sight in terms of kinematics, ionization and composition, providing access to the three dimensional geometry of the explosion. Athena+ will also allow studying shock physics and particle acceleration in supernova remnants, as well as their interaction with their environment. Athena+ X-IFU will also characterize the ionization mechanisms competing in forming the complex structures of the hot interstellar medium, likely to keep the echo of past star formation activity, both in our Galaxy and nearby ones. For the first time the dust and gas of the densest cold medium, like in the Galactic Centre environment, will be studied. Athena+ X-IFU will observe, along with the Mg K and Si K edges, which are the main tracers of the silicates content of the ISM, the Fe K edge with unprecedented sensitivity and energy-resolution. This will allow us to study for the first time the nature of Fe-bearing dust in such regions.
    06/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: The X-ray source RX J0648.0-4418 is the only confirmed binary system in which a compact object, most likely a massive white dwarf, accretes from a hot subdwarf companion, the bright sdO star HD 49798. The X-ray emission from this system is characterized by two periodic modulations caused by an eclipse, at the orbital period of 1.55 d, and by the rotation of the compact object with a spin period of 13.2 s. In 2011 we obtained six short XMM-Newton observations centered at orbital phase 0.75, in order to study the system during the eclipse, and spaced at increasingly long time intervals in order to obtain an accurate measure of the spin-period evolution through phase-connected timing. The duration of the eclipse ingress and egress, 500 s, indicates the presence of an X-ray emitting region with dimensions of the order of a few 10^4 km, surrounding the pulsar and probably due to scattering in the companion's wind. We derived an upper limit on the spin-period derivative |Pdot|<6x10^-15 s/s, more than two orders of magnitude smaller than the previously available value. Significant X-ray emission is detected also during the 1.2 hours-long eclipse, with a luminosity of about 3x10^30 erg/s. The eclipse spectrum shows prominent emission lines of H- and He-like nitrogen, an overabundant element in HD 49798. These findings support the suggestion that the X-ray emission observed during the eclipse originates in HD 49798 and that the processes responsible for X-ray emission in the stellar winds of massive O stars are also at work in the much weaker winds of hot subdwarfs.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 04/2013; · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report on the long term X-ray monitoring of the outburst decay of the low magnetic field magnetar SGR 0418+5729, using all the available X-ray data obtained with RXTE, SWIFT, Chandra, and XMM-Newton observations, from the discovery of the source in June 2009, up to August 2012. The timing analysis allowed us to obtain the first measurement of the period derivative of SGR 0418+5729: \dot{P}=4(1)x10^{-15} s/s, significant at ~3.5 sigma confidence level. This leads to a surface dipolar magnetic field of B_dip ~6x 10^{12} G. This measurement confirms SGR 0418+5729 as the lowest magnetic field magnetar. Following the flux and spectral evolution from the beginning of the outburst up to ~1200 days, we observe a gradual cooling of the tiny hot spot responsible for the X-ray emission, from a temperature of ~0.9 to 0.3 keV. Simultaneously, the X-ray flux decreased by about 3 orders of magnitude: from about 1.4x10^{-11} to 1.2x10^{-14} erg/s/cm^2 . Deep radio, millimeter, optical and gamma-ray observations did not detect the source counterpart, implying stringent limits on its multi-band emission, as well as constraints on the presence of a fossil disk. By modeling the magneto-thermal secular evolution of SGR 0418+5729, we infer a realistic age of ~550 kyr, and a dipolar magnetic field at birth of ~10^{14} G. The outburst characteristics suggest the presence of a thin twisted bundle with a small heated spot at its base. The bundle untwisted in the first few months following the outburst, while the hot spot decreases in temperature and size. We estimate the outburst rate of low magnetic field magnetars to be about one per year per galaxy, and we briefly discuss the consequences of such result in several other astrophysical contexts.
    The Astrophysical Journal 03/2013; 770(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA) is a new observatory for very high-energy (VHE) gamma rays. CTA has ambitions science goals, for which it is necessary to achieve full-sky coverage, to improve the sensitivity by about an order of magnitude, to span about four decades of energy, from a few tens of GeV to above 100 TeV with enhanced angular and energy resolutions over existing VHE gamma-ray observatories. An international collaboration has formed with more than 1000 members from 27 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and North and South America. In 2010 the CTA Consortium completed a Design Study and started a three-year Preparatory Phase which leads to production readiness of CTA in 2014. In this paper we introduce the science goals and the concept of CTA, and provide an overview of the project.
    Astroparticle Physics 03/2013; 43:3-18. · 4.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report on the main results obtained thanks to an observation campaign, performed with XMM-Newton, of four persistent, low-luminosity (Lx ~ 10^34 erg/s) and long-period (P > 200 s) Be accreting pulsars. We found that all sources considered here are characterized by a spectral excess that can be described with a blackbody component of high temperature (kT > 1 keV) and small area (R < 0.5 km). We show that: 1) this feature is a common property of several low-luminosity X-ray binaries; 2) for most sources the blackbody parameters (radius and temperature) are within a narrow range of values; 3) it can be interpreted as emission from the NS polar caps.
    01/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: We report on the results we obtained with XMM observations of HD 49798 and BD +37° 442, the only two sdO stars for which X-ray emission has been observed so far. HD 49798 is a single-lined spectroscopic binary with orbital period of 1.5 days. We could establish that its companion is a massive white dwarf with M = 1.28 M_{⊙}, which makes it a candidate type Ia supernova progenitor; we also detected a significant X-ray emission during the white-dwarf eclipse, which could be X-ray emission of the sdO star itself. In the case of BD +37° 442, a luminous He-rich sdO that up to now was believed to be a single star, we discovered soft X-ray emission with a periodicity of 19.2 s. This indicates that also this hot subdwarf has a compact binary companion, either a white dwarf or a neutron star, most likely powered by accretion from the wind of the sdO star.
    Central European Astrophysical Bulletin. 01/2013;

Publication Stats

1k Citations
582.79 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2011–2014
    • Istituto Universitario di Studi Superiori di Pavia
      Ticinum, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2013
    • National Radio Astronomy Observatory
      Charlottesville, Virginia, United States
    • IEEC Institute of Space Studies of Catalonia
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain
  • 2012
    • Los Alamos National Laboratory
      Los Alamos, California, United States
  • 2006–2011
    • National Institute of Astrophysics
      • • Institute of Space Astrophysics and Cosmic Physics IASF - Milan
      • • Institute of Space Astrophysics and Cosmic Physics IASF - Rome
      Roma, Latium, Italy
  • 2010
    • Università degli Studi di Torino
      Torino, Piedmont, Italy
  • 2006–2008
    • University of Pavia
      • Department of Physics
      Pavia, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2004–2005
    • University of Milan
      • Department of Physics
      Milano, Lombardy, Italy
  • 2002
    • University of St Andrews
      • School of Physics and Astronomy
      Saint Andrews, Scotland, United Kingdom