Masayoshi Nobukawa

The University of Tokyo, Edo, Tōkyō, Japan

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Publications (42)71.34 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: An elongated X-ray source with a strong K-shell line from He-like iron (Fe XXVI) is found at (RA, Dec)_{J2000.0}=(17h44m00s.0, -29D13'40''.9) in the Galactic center region. The position coincides with the X-ray thread, G359.55+0.16, which is aligned with the radio non-thermal filament. The X-ray spectrum is well fitted with an absorbed thin thermal plasma (apec) model. The best-fit temperature, metal abundance, and column density are 4.1^{+2.7}_{-1.8} keV, 0.58^{+0.41}_{-0.32} solar, and 6.1^{+2.5}_{-1.3}x10^{22} cm^{-2}, respectively. These values are similar to those of the largely extended Galactic center X-ray emission.
    09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We report the first results from high-statistics observation of the 6.4-keV line in the region of $l= +1.5^\circ$ to $+3.5^\circ$ (hereafter referred to as GC East), with the goal to uncover the origin of the Galactic ridge X-ray emission (GRXE). By comparing this data with that from the previous observations in the region $l=-1.5^\circ$ to $-3.5^\circ$ (hereafter referred to as GC West), we discovered that the 6.4-keV line is asymmetrically distributed with respect to the Galactic center, whereas the 6.7-keV line is symmetrically distributed. The distribution of the 6.4-keV line follows that of $^{13}$CO and its flux is proportional to the column density of the molecular gas. This correlation agrees with that seen between the 6.4-keV line and the cold interstellar medium (ISM) (H$_{\rm I}$ $+$ H$_2$) in the region $|l|>4^\circ$. This result suggests that the 6.4-keV emission is diffuse fluorescence from the cold ISM not only in GC East and West but also in the entire Galactic plane. This observational result suggests that the surface brightness of the 6.4-keV line is proportional to the column density of the cold ISM in the entire Galactic plane. For the ionizing particles, we consider X-rays and low energy cosmic-ray protons and electrons .
    08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We present Suzaku results of the two Galactic supernova remnants (SNRs), G350.1-0.3 and G349.7+0.2. We find Al and Ni K alpha lines from both the SNRs for the first time, in addition to previously detected K-shell lines of Mg, Si, S, Ar, Ca and Fe. The spectra are well described by two optically thin thermal plasmas: a low-temperature (low-kT) plasma in collisional ionization equilibrium and a high-temperature (high-kT) plasma in non-equilibrium ionization. Since the low-kT plasma has solar metal abundances, it is thought to be of interstellar medium origin. The high-kT plasma has super-solar abundances, hence it is likely to be of ejecta origin. The abundance patterns of the ejecta components are similar to those of core-collapse supernovae with the progenitor mass of ~15-25 M_solar for G350.1-0.3 and ~35-40 M_solar for G349.7+0.2. We find extremely high abundances of Ni compared to Fe (Z_Ni/Z_Fe ~8). Based on the measured column densities between the SNRs and the near sky background, we propose that G350.1-0.3 and G349.7+0.2 are located at the distance of 9+/-3 kpc and 12+/-5 kpc, respectively. Then the ejecta masses are estimated to be ~13 M_solar and ~24 M_solar for G350.1-0.3 and G349.7+0.2, respectively. These values are consistent with the progenitor mass of ~15-25 M_solar and ~35-40 M_solar for G350.1-0.3 and G349.7+0.2, respectively.
    Publications- Astronomical Society of Japan 03/2014; 66(4). · 2.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Supernova remnants (SNRs) retain crucial information about both their parent explosion and circumstellar material left behind by their progenitor. However, the complexity of the interaction between supernova ejecta and ambient medium often blurs this information, and it is not uncommon for the basic progenitor type (Ia or core-collapse) of well-studied remnants to remain uncertain. Here we present a powerful new observational diagnostic to discriminate between progenitor types and constrain the ambient medium density of SNRs solely using Fe K-shell X-ray emission. We analyze all extant Suzaku observations of SNRs and detect Fe K alpha emission from 23 young or middle-aged remnants, including five first detections (IC 443, G292.0+1.8, G337.2-0.7, N49, and N63A). The Fe K alpha centroids clearly separate progenitor types, with the Fe-rich ejecta in Type Ia remnants being significantly less ionized than in core-collapse SNRs. Within each progenitor group, the Fe K alpha luminosity and centroid are well correlated, with more luminous objects having more highly ionized Fe. Our results indicate that there is a strong connection between explosion type and ambient medium density, and suggest that Type Ia supernova progenitors do not substantially modify their surroundings at radii of up to several parsecs. We also detect a K-shell radiative recombination continuum of Fe in W49B and IC 443, implying a strong circumstellar interaction in the early evolutionary phases of these core-collapse remnants.
    The Astrophysical Journal Letters 03/2014; 785(2). · 6.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report Suzaku results for soft X-ray emission to the south of the Galactic center (GC). The emission (hereafter "GC South") has an angular size of ~42' x 16' centered at (l, b) ~ (0.0, -1.4), and is located in the largely extended Galactic ridge X-ray emission (GRXE). The X-ray spectrum of GC South exhibits emission lines from highly ionized atoms. Although the X-ray spectrum of the GRXE can be well fitted with a plasma in collisional ionization equilibrium (CIE), that of GC South cannot be fitted with a plasma in CIE, leaving hump-like residuals at ~2.5 and 3.5 keV, which are attributable to the radiative recombination continua of the K-shells of Si and S, respectively. In fact, GC South spectrum is well fitted with a recombination-dominant plasma model; the electron temperature is 0.46 keV while atoms are highly ionized (kT = 1.6 keV) in the initial epoch, and the plasma is now in a recombining phase at a relaxation scale (plasma density x elapsed time) of 5.3 x 10^11 s cm^-3. The absorption column density of GC South is consistent with that toward the GC region. Thus GC South is likely to be located in the GC region (~8 kpc distance). The size of the plasma, the mean density, and the thermal energy are estimated to be 97 pc x 37 pc, 0.16 cm^-3, and 1.6 x 10^51 erg, respectively. We discuss possible origins of the recombination-dominant plasma as a relic of past activity in the GC region.
    The Astrophysical Journal 10/2013; 773(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: P-channel charge-coupled devices (CCDs) made from N-type silicon wafers were originally developed for ground-based optical and near-infrared telescopes. The thick depletion layer of these CCDs provides the significant advantage of high quantum efficiency (QE) for hard X-rays. On the other hand, high QE for soft X-rays is obtained with back-illuminated (BI) and fully depleted CCDs in which only a thin dead layer exists on the surface of incidence. Thus, P-channel BI CCDs can be applicable as superior wide band X-ray detectors. We have developed such a device specifically for the Soft X-ray Imager (SXI) on board the X-ray astronomy satellite ASTRO-H, scheduled to be launched in 2014. We previously reported that the depletion layers of our CCDs, a prototype of SXI-CCDs, have a thickness of more than 200μm. In this paper, we report a novel soft X-ray response of P-channel BI CCDs. First, we irradiate fluorescent X-rays of O, F, Na, Al, Si and K to the SXI prototype. This experiment reveals that our CCD has a significant low-energy tail structure in the soft X-ray response. Since the intensity of the low-energy tail is larger for lower X-ray energies, the tail is originated on the CCD surface layer. Then, we fabricate a new type of CCDs by applying an alternative treatment to its surface layer. The soft X-ray response of the CCD is measured by irradiation of monochromatic X-rays from 0.25 keV to 1.8 keV in a synchrotron facility, KEK-PF. The intensity of the low-energy tail for 0.5 keV incident X-ray is one order of magnitude smaller than that for the previous CCD. The same treatment will be applied to the surface layer of the SXI flight model.
    Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A Accelerators Spectrometers Detectors and Associated Equipment 03/2013; 704:140–146. · 1.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: This paper presents the Suzaku results obtained for the Sagittarius (Sgr) C region using the concept of X-ray reflection nebulae (XRNe) as the echo of past flares from the super massive black hole, Sgr A*. The Sgr C complex is composed of several molecular clouds proximately located in projected distance. The X-ray spectra of Sgr C were analyzed on the basis of a view that XRNe are located inside the Galactic center plasma X-ray emission with an oval distribution around Sgr A*. We found that the XRNe are largely separated in the line-of-sight position, and are associated with molecular clouds in different velocity ranges detected by radio observations. We also applied the same analysis to the Sgr B XRNe and completed a long-term light curve for Sgr A* occurring in the past. As a new finding, we determined that Sgr A* was experiencing periods of high luminosity already 500 years ago, which is longer than the previously reported value. Our results are consistent with a scenario that Sgr A* was continuously active with sporadic flux variabilities of Lx = 1-3 x 10^39 erg s^-1 in the past 50 to 500 years. The average past luminosity was approximately 4-6 orders of magnitude higher than that presently observed. In addition, two short-term flares of 5-10 years are found. Thus, the past X-ray flare should not be a single short-term flare, but can be interpreted as multiple flares superposed on a long-term high state.
    Publications- Astronomical Society of Japan 11/2012; · 2.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The joint JAXA/NASA ASTRO-H mission is the sixth in a series of highly successful X-ray missions initiated by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS). ASTRO-H will investigate the physics of the high-energy universe via a suite of four instruments, covering a very wide energy range, from 0.3 keV to 600 keV. These instruments include a high-resolution, high-throughput spectrometer sensitive over 0.3-2 keV with high spectral resolution of Delta E < 7 eV, enabled by a micro-calorimeter array located in the focal plane of thin-foil X-ray optics; hard X-ray imaging spectrometers covering 5-80 keV, located in the focal plane of multilayer-coated, focusing hard X-ray mirrors; a wide-field imaging spectrometer sensitive over 0.4-12 keV, with an X-ray CCD camera in the focal plane of a soft X-ray telescope; and a non-focusing Compton-camera type soft gamma-ray detector, sensitive in the 40-600 keV band. The simultaneous broad bandpass, coupled with high spectral resolution, will enable the pursuit of a wide variety of important science themes.
    10/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: We observed the supergiant fast X-ray transient AX J1841.0-0536 with Suzaku in 2011 March. Many short flares with time-scales of a few hundred seconds and a large flare with a peak flux (1.0-10 keV) of ≳; 2 × 10-10 erg s-1 cm-2 were detected. The broad-band (1.0-40 keV) spectrum was fitted with a cut-off power-law continuum plus a Kα line from a neutral iron absorbed by partial covering gas. In addition, a broad absorption feature was found in a high-energy band. The photon index of the power-law is 1.01 ± 0.12 in a low-luminosity state, and decreases (becomes hard) with increasing luminosity. On the other hand, the absorption column density and the iron line equivalent width are nearly constant. The covering fraction does not vary significantly, except for the full coverage epoch at the end of the large flare. We thus propose that the X-ray emission is due to subsequent in-falls of many small blobs.
    Publications- Astronomical Society of Japan 10/2012; · 2.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the global distribution of the intensities of the K-shell lines from the He-like and H-like ions of S, Ar, Ca and Fe along the Galactic plane. From the profiles, we clearly separate the Galactic center X-ray emission (GCXE) and the Galactic ridge X-ray emission (GRXE). The intensity profiles of the He-like K$\alpha$ lines of S, Ar, Ca and Fe along the Galactic plane are approximately similar with each other, while not for the H-like Ly$\alpha$ lines. In particular, the profiles of H-like Ly$\alpha$ of S and Fe show remarkable contrast; a large excess of Fe and almost no excess of S lines in the GCXE compared to the GRXE. Although the prominent K-shell lines are represented by $\sim$1 keV and $\sim$7 keV temperature plasmas, these two temperatures are not equal between the GCXE and GRXE. In fact, the spectral analysis of the GCXE and GRXE revealed that the $\sim$1 keV plasma in the GCXE has lower temperature than that in the GRXE, and vice versa for the $\sim$7 keV plasma.
    Publications- Astronomical Society of Japan 09/2012; · 2.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present the Suzaku results of the supernova remnant (SNR) G346.6-0.2. The X-ray emission has a center-filled morphology with the size of 6' x 8' within the radio shell. Neither an ionization equilibrium nor non-equilibrium (ionizing) plasma can reproduce the spectra remaining shoulder-like residuals in the 2-4 keV band. These structures are possibly due to recombination of free electrons to the K-shell of He-like Si and S. The X-ray spectra are well fitted with a plasma model in a recombination dominant phase. We propose that the plasma was in nearly full ionized state at high temperature of 5 keV, then the plasma changed to a recombining phase due to selective cooling of electrons to lower temperature of 0.3 keV. G346.6-0.2 would be in an epoch of the recombining phase.
    Publications- Astronomical Society of Japan 08/2012; · 2.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The high energy activity in the inner few degrees of the Galactic center is traced by diffuse radio, X-ray and gamma-ray emission. The physical relationship between different components of diffuse gas emitting at multiple wavelengths is a focus of this work. We first present radio continuum observations using Green Bank Telescope and model the nonthermal spectrum in terms of a broken power-law distribution of GeV electrons emitting synchrotron radiation. We show that the emission detected by Fermi is primarily due to nonthermal bremsstrahlung produced by the population of synchrotron emitting electrons in the GeV energy range interacting with neutral gas. The extrapolation of the electron population measured from radio data to low and high energies can also explain the origin of FeI 6.4 keV line and diffuse TeV emission, as observed with Suzaku, XMM-Newton, Chandra and the H.E.S.S. observatories. The inferred physical quantities from modeling multi-wavelength emission in the context of bremsstrahlung emission from the inner 300x120 parsecs of the Galactic center are constrained to have the cosmic ray ionization rate 1-10x10^{-15} s^-1, molecular gas heating rate elevating the gas temperature to 75-200K, fractional ionization of molecular gas 10^{-6} to 10^{-5}, large scale magnetic field 10-20 micro Gauss, the density of diffuse and dense molecular gas 100 and 10^3 cm^{-3} over 300pc and 50pc pathlengths, and the variability of FeI Kalpha 6.4 keV line emission on yearly time scales. Important implications of our study are that GeV electrons emitting in radio can explain the GeV gamma-rays detected by Fermi and that the cosmic ray irradiation model, like the model of the X-ray irradiation triggered by past activity of Sgr A*, can also explain the origin of the variable 6.4 keV emission from Galactic center molecular clouds.
    The Astrophysical Journal 06/2012; 762(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We analyze the diffuse Fe I K-alpha line generated in the diffuse interstellar molecular hydrogen by primary photons or subrelativistic protons injected by Sagittarius (Sgr) A*. We showed that unlike emission from compact molecular clouds, this emission can be permanently observed in the directions of the Galactic center. We conclude that the diffuse emission of 6.4 keV line observed at present is probably due to Fe I K-alpha vacancy production by primary photons if the X-ray luminosity of Sgr A* was about Lx ~ 10^39-10^40 erg/s. In principle these data can also be described in the framework of the model when the 6.4 keV line emission is generated by subrelativistic protons generated by accretion onto the central black hole but in this case extreme parameters of this model are necessary.
    Publications- Astronomical Society of Japan 09/2011; · 2.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prominent K-shell emission lines of neutral iron (hereafter, FeI-K) and hard-continuum X-rays were found from molecular clouds (MCs) in the Sagittarius B (Sgr B) region with the two separate Suzaku observations in 2005 and 2009. The X-ray flux of FeI-K decreased in correlation to the hard-continuum flux by factor of 0.4-0.5 in 4 years, which is nearly equal to the light-travelling across the MCs. The rapid and correlated time-variability, the equivalent width of FeI-K, and the K-edge absorption depth of FeI are consistently explained by "X-ray echoes" due to the fluorescent and Thomson-scattering of an X-ray flare from an external source. The required flux of the X-ray flare depends on the distance to the MCs and the duration time. The flux, even in the minimum case, is larger than those of the brightest Galactic X-ray sources. Based on these facts, we conclude that the super-massive black hole, Sgr A*, exhibited a big-flare about a few hundred years ago and the luminosity of higher than 4x10^39 erg s^{-1}. The "X-ray echo" from Sgr B, located at a few hundred light-years from Sgr A*, now arrived at the Earth.
    The Astrophysical Journal Letters 09/2011; 739(2). · 6.35 Impact Factor
  • 08/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: We have surveyed spatial profiles of the Fe K$\alpha$ lines in the Galactic center diffuse X-rays (GCDX), including the transient region from the GCDX to the Galactic ridge X-ray emission (GRXE), with the Suzaku satellite. We resolved Fe K$\alpha$ line complex into three lines of Fe \emissiontype{I}, Fe \emissiontype{XXV} and Fe \emissiontype{XXVI} K$\alpha$, and obtained their spatial intensity profiles with the resolution of $\sim \timeform{0D.1}$. We compared the Fe \emissiontype{XXV} K$\alpha$ profile with a stellar mass distribution (SMD) model made from near infrared observations. The intensity profile of Fe \emissiontype{XXV} K$\alpha$ is nicely fitted with the SMD model in the GRXE region, while that in the GCDX region shows $3.8\pm0.3$ $(\timeform{0D.2}<|l|<\timeform{1D.5})$ or $19\pm6$ $(|l|<\timeform{0D.2})$ times excess over the best-fit SMD model in the GRXE region. Thus Fe \emissiontype{XXV} K$\alpha$ in the GCDX is hardly explained by the same origin of the GRXE. In the case of point source origin, a new population with the extremely strong Fe \emissiontype{XXV} K$\alpha$ line is required. An alternative possibility is that the majority of the GCDX is truly diffuse optically thin thermal plasma.
    Publications- Astronomical Society of Japan 07/2011; 63. · 2.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We investigated the emission of the Kalpha iron line from massive molecular clouds in the galactic center (GC). We assumed that at present the total flux of this emission consists of a time-variable component generated by primary X-ray photons ejected by Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) in the past, and a relatively weak quasi-stationary component excited by the impact of protons that were generated by star accretion onto the central black hole. The level of background emission was estimated from a rise of the 6.4 keV line intensity in the direction of several molecular clouds, which we interpreted as being a stage when the X-ray front ejected by Sgr A* entered into these clouds. Regarding the 6.4 keV emission before this intensity jump, we interpreted it as emission generated by subrelativistic cosmic rays there. The cross-section of Kalpha vacancies produced by protons differs from that of electrons or X-rays. Therefore, we expect that this processes can be distinguished from an analysis of the equivalent width of the iron line; also, the time variations of the width can be predicted. The line intensity from the clouds depends on their distance from Sgr A* and the coefficient of spatial diffusion near the galactic center. We expect that in a few years the line intensity for the cloud G 0.11-0.11, which is relatively close to Sgr A*, will decrease to a level of &lsim;10% from its present value. For the cloud Sagittarius B2 (Sgr B2) the situation is more intricate. If the diffusion coefficient is D &gsim; 1027cm2s-1, the expected stationary flux should be about 10% of its level in 2000. In the opposite case the line intensity from Sgr B2 should drop down to zero because the protons do not reach the cloud.
    Publications- Astronomical Society of Japan 06/2011; 63. · 2.44 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The K-shell emission line of neutral iron from the Galactic center region was firstly discovered with ASCA. Since then, the origin is one of the key issues for the structure and activity of the Galactic center. Two possible origins have so far been proposed; fluorescence due either to an X-ray or an electron irradiations. Since the cross sections of these two processes depend differently on the atomic number, detections of neutral Kalpha lines from other elements such as sulfur, argon, calcium, chrome and manganese atoms would provide key information for the origin. We report the Suzaku discovery of Kalpha lines of neutral sulfur, argon, calcium, chrome, and manganese atoms from the molecular cloud which emits the brightest neutral iron line. New constrains on the origin of the neutral K-shell lines are given with the combination of these neutral Kalpha lines.
    05/2011;
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    Masayoshi Nobukawa
    02/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: One of the remarkable features of the X‐ray emission from the Galactic center (GC) region is a Kα line at 6.4 keV from an Fe atom. Although some scenarios, such as photo‐ionization by external X‐rays (XRN) or collisional ionization by low energy cosmic‐ray electrons (LECRe) have been proposed, the origin of the 6.4 keV line is still an open question. We analyzed X‐ray data obtained by the X‐ray satellite Suzaku and discovered K‐shell lines of neutral Ar, Ca, Cr, and Mn atoms in addition to Fe and Ni. To explain the observed equivalent widths of the neutral lines, the elemental abundances are required to be ∼1.6 and ∼4 solar in the XRN and LECRe scenarios. On the other hand, the abundances of the various elements in the GC hot plasma were 1–2 solar. Ourresult suggests that the origin of the neutral K‐shell lines is the external X‐rays.
    AIP Conference Proceedings. 08/2010; 1269(1):154-159.