Masayoshi Nobukawa

Kyoto University, Kioto, Kyōto, Japan

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Publications (55)68.76 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: A common idea for the origin of the Galactic diffuse X-ray emission, particularly that of the iron lines from neutral and highly ionized atoms, is a superposition of many cataclysmic variables and coronally active binaries. In this scenario, the flux should symmetrically distribute between the east and west on the plane with respect to Sagittarius A$^*$ because the stellar mass distribution determined by infrared observations is nearly symmetric. This symmetry is confirmed for the highly ionized iron line as well as the continuum emission. However, a clear excess of the neutral iron line in the near east of the Galactic center compared to the near-west side is found. The flux distribution of the excess emission well correlates with molecular column density. The X-ray spectrum of the excess emission is described by a power-law continuum plus a 6.4 keV line with the large equivalent width of $\sim1.3$ keV, which is hardly explained by the low-energy electron bombardment scenario. The longitudinal and latitudinal distribution of the excess emission disfavors the X-ray irradiation, neither by Sagittarius A$^*$ nor by nearby X-ray binaries. Then the low-energy proton bombardment is the most probable origin although the high energy density $\sim 80$ eV cm$^{-3}$ in 0.1-1000 MeV is required and there is no conventional proton source in the vicinity.
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    ABSTRACT: HESS J1841-055 is a diffuse unidentified gamma-ray source with the size of ∼1°.3 × 1°. No conclusive counterpart in other wavelengths has so far detected. To search for X-rays responsible for the TeV emission, the Suzaku observations were conducted, which covered a half region of the HESS source. In the soft band (0.5–2.0 keV), we discovered a diffuse emission, Suzaku J1840.2-0552, with the size of . Since its spectrum was fitted by an optically thin thermal plasma model, Suzaku J1840.2-0552 is likely to be a supernova remnant. We also discovered an extended source, Suzaku J1840.2-0544, in the hard band (2.0–8.0 keV) with an emission line at 6.1 keV. From the spectral feature and large interstellar absorption, this source is likely to be a cluster of galaxies behind the Galactic plane at the red-shift of ∼0.09. The other diffuse source spatially overlaps with the SNR candidate G26.6-0.2, which shows a non-thermal dominant spectrum. Since no other candidate is found in the hard X-ray band, we infer that these largely extended sources could be possible counterparts of HESS J1841-055.
    Advances in Space Research 06/2015; 55(11). DOI:10.1016/j.asr.2015.02.035 · 1.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Despite decades of intense efforts, many fundamental aspects of Type Ia supernova (SNe Ia) remain elusive. One of the major open questions is whether the mass of the exploding white dwarf (WD) is close to the Chandrasekhar limit. Here we report the detection of strong K-shell emission from stable Fe-peak elements in the Suzaku X-ray spectrum of the Type Ia supernova remnant (SNR) 3C 397. The high Ni/Fe and Mn/Fe mass ratios (0.11-0.24 and 0.018-0.033, respectively) in the hot plasma component that dominates the K-shell emission lines indicate a degree of neutronization in the SN ejecta which can only be achieved by electron captures in the dense cores of exploding WDs with a near-Chandrasekhar mass. This suggests a single-degenerate origin for 3C 397, since Chandrasekhar mass progenitors are expected naturally if the WD accretes mass slowly from a companion. Together with other results supporting the double-degenerate scenario, our work adds to the mounting evidence that both progenitor channels make a significant contribution to the SN Ia rate in star-forming galaxies.
    02/2015; 801(2). DOI:10.1088/2041-8205/801/2/L31
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    ABSTRACT: This paper reports on the Suzaku result of the Galactic supernova remnant (SNR) G337.2−0.7. The X-ray spectrum is well explained by three components in ionizing phase. One is a plasma with a low temperature $kT = 0.70_{-0.03}^{+0.02}\:$keV, solar abundances, and an ionization parameter $n_{\rm e}t = 5.7^{+0.7}_{-0.4}\times 10^{11}\:$s cm−3. The second is a middle-temperature plasma with $kT = 1.54^{+0.13}_{-0.02}\:$keV and high metal abundances in a highly ionized state of $n_{\rm e}t = 3.6^{+0.2}_{-0.5}\times 10^{11}\:$s cm−3, and the third is a high-temperature plasma with $kT = 3.1^{+0.2}_{-0.1}\:$keV and high metal abundances in a low-ionized state of $n_{\rm e}t=2.1^{+0.4}_{-0.2}\times 10^{10}\:$s cm−3. The high metal-abundance plasmas are likely to be of an ejecta origin, while the solar abundance plasma would be of an interstellar-gas origin. The abundance pattern and mass of the ejecta confirm that G337.2−0.7 is a remnant of a Type Ia supernova (SN). The derived Fe mass of ejecta MFe = 0.025-0.039 M⊙ is far smaller than that expected from any Type Ia model, suggesting that most Fe has not yet been heated by the reverse shock. The ejecta has enhanced distribution in the northeastern region compared to the central region, and therefore the SN explosion or SNR evolution would be asymmetric.
    Publications- Astronomical Society of Japan 01/2015; DOI:10.1093/pasj/psv025 · 2.01 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 developed by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), with a planned launch in 2015. The ASTRO-H mission is equipped with a suite of sensitive instruments with the highest energy resolution ever achieved at E > 3 keV and a wide energy range spanning four decades in energy from soft X-rays to gamma-rays. The simultaneous broad band pass, coupled with the high spectral resolution of Delta E < 7 eV of the micro-calorimeter, will enable a wide variety of important science themes to be pursued. ASTRO-H is expected to provide breakthrough results in scientific areas as diverse as the large-scale structure of the Universe and its evolution, the behavior of matter in the gravitational strong field regime, the physical conditions in sites of cosmic-ray acceleration, and the distribution of dark matter in galaxy clusters at different redshifts.
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    ABSTRACT: The most characteristic high-energy phenomena in the Galactic center (GC) region is the presence of strong K-shell emission lines from highly ionized Si, S, Ar, Ca, Fe and Ni, which form the Galactic Center X-ray Emission (GCXE). These multiple lines suggest that the GCXE is composed of at least two plasmas with temperatures of ~1 and ~7 keV. The GCXE also exhibits the K-shell lines from neutral Si, S, Ar, Ca, Fe and Ni atoms. A debatable issue is the origin of the GCXE plasma; whether it is a diffuse plasma or integrated emission of many unresolved point sources such as cataclysmic variables and active binaries. Detailed spectroscopy for these lines may provide a reliable picture of the GCXE plasma. The origin of the K-shell lines from neutral atoms is most likely the fluorescence by X-rays from a putative past flare of Sgr A*. Therefore ASTRO-H may provide unprecedented data for the past light curve of Sgr A*. All these lines may provide key information for the dynamics of the GCXE, using possible Doppler shift and/or line broadening. This paper overviews these line features and the previous interpretation of their origin. We propose extended or revised science with the ASTRO-H observations of some select objects in the GC region.
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    ABSTRACT: Thanks to the unprecedented spectral resolution and sensitivity of the Soft X-ray Spectrometer (SXS) to soft thermal X-ray emission, ASTRO-H will open a new discovery window for understanding young, ejecta-dominated, supernova remnants (SNRs). In particular we study how ASTRO-H observations will address, comprehensively, three key topics in SNR research: (1) using abundance measurements to unveil SNR progenitors, (2) using spatial and velocity distribution of the ejecta to understand supernova explosion mechanisms, (3) revealing the link between the thermal plasma state of SNRs and the efficiency of their particle acceleration.
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    ABSTRACT: We are developing the Soft X-ray Imager (SXI), a charge-coupled device (CCD) camera system to be deployed onboard the ASTRO-H satellite. Using an engineering model system in which design specifications were the same as those of the flight model, we measured charge transfer inefficiency (CTI) and the effects of charge trailing. The CCD was irradiated with monochromatic X-rays produced by a radio isotope (55Fe) and X-ray generator using alpha particles from 241Am. We used four targets for the X-ray generator: (C2F4)n, SiO2, Ti, and Ge. Since CTI degrades energy resolution, we adopted the charge-injection technique to the SXI. With this technique, injected charges fill traps, and subsequent signal charges are transferred with less loss of charge. However, the charge-injection technique can cause positional variations in gain on the CCD chip. Thus, we constructed a method for correcting CTI. We also evaluated the charge trailing effect and tested a method for correcting its effects. After applying these corrections to charge injection, variations in gain improved from 0.5% to 0.1% over the CCD chip, and the energy resolution (FWHM) improved from to at 5.9 keV.
    Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A Accelerators Spectrometers Detectors and Associated Equipment 11/2014; 765:269-274. DOI:10.1016/j.nima.2014.05.091 · 1.32 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present the discovery of out-flow like plasma emissions with the Suzaku and ASCA data. Those plasmas have a size of ∼150 pc. Remarkably, the southern plasma is in a recombination dominant phase, which is not predicted by standard shock heating. A plausible scenario is either photoionization due to strong jet-like X-rays from Sgr A* or rapid cooling due to adiabatic expansion of a blowout plasma from the Galactic center about 105 years ago.
    Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union 10/2014; 9(S303):349-353. DOI:10.1017/S1743921314000908
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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.
    Publications- Astronomical Society of Japan 09/2014; 66(6). DOI:10.1093/pasj/psu122 · 2.01 Impact Factor
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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 .
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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). DOI:10.1093/pasj/psu043 · 2.01 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). DOI:10.1088/2041-8205/785/2/L27 · 5.60 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). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/773/1/20 · 6.28 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. DOI:10.1016/j.nima.2012.11.187 · 1.32 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; DOI:10.1093/pasj/65.2.33 · 2.01 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.
    Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering 10/2012; DOI:10.1117/12.926190 · 0.20 Impact Factor
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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; DOI:10.1093/pasj/64.5.99 · 2.01 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Soft X-ray Imager (SXI) is a CCD camera onboard the ASTRO-H satellite which is scheduled to be launched in 2014. The SXI camera contains four CCD chips, each with an imaging area of 31mm× 31 mm, arrayed in mosaic, which cover the whole FOV area of 38' × 38'. The SXI CCDs are a P-channel back-illuminated (BI) type with a depletion layer thickness of 200 μm. High QE of 77% at 10 keV expected for this device is an advantage to cover an overlapping energy band with the Hard X-ray Imager (HXI) onboard ASTRO-H. Verification with engineering model of the SXI has been performed since 2011. Flight model design was fixed and its fabrication has started in 2012.
    SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation; 09/2012
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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; DOI:10.1093/pasj/65.1.19 · 2.01 Impact Factor