G. K. Skinner

University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland, United States

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Publications (320)491.55 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: This paper extends the BAT 22 month paper (Tueller et al. 2010, Cat. J/ApJS/186/378) to include all sources detected in the first 70 months of data between 2004 December and 2010 September. (2 data files).
    VizieR Online Data Catalog. 09/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: We present the catalog of sources detected in 70 months of observations of the BAT hard X-ray detector on the Swift gamma-ray burst observatory. The Swift-BAT 70 month survey has detected 1171 hard X-ray sources (more than twice as many sources as the previous 22 month survey) in the 14-195 keV band down to a significance level of 4.8 sigma, associated with 1210 counterparts. The 70 month Swift-BAT survey is the most sensitive and uniform hard X-ray all-sky survey and reaches a flux level of 1.03e-11 ergs/sec/cm2 over 50% of the sky and 1.34e-11 ergs/sec/cm2 over 90% of the sky. The majority of new sources in the 70 month survey continue to be AGN, with over 700 in the 70 month survey catalog. As part of this new edition of the Swift-BAT catalog, we also make available 8-channel spectra and monthly-sampled lightcurves for each object detected in the survey at the Swift-BAT 70 month website.
    The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 12/2012; · 14.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A 3.7 day orbital period was previously suggested for the 910 s X-ray pulsar IGR J16393-4643 from a pulse timing study of widely separated X-ray observations (Thompson et al., 2006), placing the system in the supergiant wind-fed region of the Ppulse-Porb diagram. However, orbital periods of 50.2 and 8.1 days could not be excluded. Nespoli et al. (2010) refute this wind-accreting high-mass X-ray binary classification and suggest a symbiotic X-ray binary (SyXB) designation based on infrared spectroscopy of the proposed counterpart and the potential 50.2 day orbital solution. SyXBs are low-mass X-ray binaries in which a neutron star accretes from the inhomogeneous medium around an M-type giant companion. We find that two statistically independent light curves of IGR J16393-4643, from the Swift Burst Alert Telescope (15-50 keV) and the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) Proportional Counter Array (PCA) Galactic bulge scans (2-10 keV), show highly significant orbital modulation near 4.24 days. Making use of this precise orbital period, we present the results from pulse arrival time analysis on IGR J16393-4643 using RXTE PCA observations. We provide significantly improved phase-connected pulse timing results using archival observations presented in Thompson et al. (2006) and additional pulse timing data not included in their study to determine the orbital parameters of the system. The derived 7.5 M⊙ mass function is inconsistent with a SyXB identification.
    09/2011;
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    ABSTRACT: Novae are thermonuclear explosions on a white dwarf surface fueled by mass accreted from a companion star. Current physical models posit that shocked expanding gas from the nova shell can produce x-ray emission, but emission at higher energies has not been widely expected. Here, we report the Fermi Large Area Telescope detection of variable gamma-ray emission (0.1 to 10 billion electron volts) from the recently detected optical nova of the symbiotic star V407 Cygni. We propose that the material of the nova shell interacts with the dense ambient medium of the red giant primary and that particles can be accelerated effectively to produce pi(0) decay gamma-rays from proton-proton interactions. Emission involving inverse Compton scattering of the red giant radiation is also considered and is not ruled out.
    Science 08/2010; 329(5993):817-21. · 31.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: IGR J16493-4348 was discovered by Grebenev et al. (2005, ATel #457) and subsequent X-ray observations suggested that the source is an X-ray binary (e.g. Hill et al. 2008, MNRAS, 385, 423).
    The Astronomer's Telegram. 05/2010;
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    ABSTRACT: IGR J14488-5942 (Swift J1448.4-5945) is listed in the 4th INTEGRAL/IBIS Survey Catalogue (Bird et al. 2010, ApJ Supp, 186, 1) as a variable source. It is not present in the BAT 22 month survey (Tueller et al. 2010, ApJ Supp, 186, 376). We have analyzed the Swift BAT 58 month survey (Baumgartner et al. 2010, HEAD, 11, 1305) light curve of this source. The light curve covers the interval 2004-12-16 through 2009-09-30 (MJD 53,355 to 55,104) and we used an energy range of 15 - 100 keV.
    The Astronomer's Telegram. 05/2010;
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    ABSTRACT: IGR J16328-4726 is a little studied X-ray source. It is listed as a "blended" variable source in the 4th IBIS/ISGRI Catalog (Bird et al. 2010, ApJ Supp, 186, 1) but is not present in the Swift BAT 22 month all-sky survey (Tueller et al. 2010, ApJ Supp, 186, 378). Grupe et al. (2009, ATel #2075) report a flare detected with the Swift BAT which was followed up with Swift XRT observations. We have analyzed the Swift BAT 58 month survey (Baumgartner et al.
    The Astronomer's Telegram. 04/2010;
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    ABSTRACT: The 910s X-ray pulsar IGR J16393-4643 was reported by Thompson et al. (2006, ApJ 649, 373) to have a 3.6875 ±0.0006 day orbital period from a pulse timing analysis, although other solutions with orbital periods of 50.2 and 8.1 days could not be excluded. Thompson et al. proposed, on the basis of their orbital parameters, that IGR J16393-4643 is a supergiant wind-accretion powered HMXB. Nespoli et al.
    The Astronomer's Telegram. 03/2010; 2570:1.
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    ABSTRACT: The primary instrument of the proposed EXIST mission is a coded mask high energy telescope (the HET), that must have a wide field of view and extremely good sensitivity. It will be crucial to minimize systematic errors so that even for very long total integration times the imaging performance is close to the statistical photon limit. There is also a requirement to be able to reconstruct images on-board in near real time in order to detect and localize gamma-ray bursts. This must be done while the spacecraft is scanning the sky. The scanning provides all-sky coverage and is key to reducing systematic errors. The on-board computational problem is made even more challenging for EXIST by the very large number of detector pixels. Numerous alternative designs for the HET have been evaluated. The baseline concept adopted depends on a unique coded mask with two spatial scales. Monte Carlo simulations and analytic analysis techniques have been used to demonstrate the capabilities of the design and of the proposed two-step burst localization procedure.
    Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering 02/2010; · 0.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present the catalog of sources detected in the first 22 months of data from the hard X-ray survey (14-195 keV) conducted with the Burst Alert Telescope (BAT) coded mask imager on the Swift satellite. The catalog contains 461 sources detected above the 4.8σ level with BAT. High angular resolution X-ray data for every source from Swift-XRT or archival data have allowed associations to be made with known counterparts in other wavelength bands for over 97% of the detections, including the discovery of ~30 galaxies previously unknown as active galactic nuclei and several new Galactic sources. A total of 266 of the sources are associated with Seyfert galaxies (median redshift z ~ 0.03) or blazars, with the majority of the remaining sources associated with X-ray binaries in our Galaxy. This ongoing survey is the first uniform all-sky hard X-ray survey since HEAO-1 in 1977. Since the publication of the nine-month BAT survey we have increased the number of energy channels from four to eight and have substantially increased the number of sources with accurate average spectra. The BAT 22 month catalog is the product of the most sensitive all-sky survey in the hard X-ray band, with a detection sensitivity (4.8σ) of 2.2 × 10–11 erg cm–2 s–1 (1 mCrab) over most of the sky in the 14-195 keV band.
    The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 01/2010; 186(2):378. · 14.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Swift Burst Alert Telescope hard X-ray transient monitor has been operating since October 1, 2006. More than 700 sources are tracked on a daily basis and light curves are produced and made available to the public on two time scales: a single Swift pointing (approximately 20 minutes) and the weighted average for each day. Of the monitored sources, approximately 33 are detected daily and another 100 have had one or more outburst during the Swift mission. The monitor is also sensitive to the detection of previously undiscovered sources and we have reported the discovery of four galactic sources and one source in the Large Magellanic Cloud. Follow-up target of opportunity observations with Swift and the Rossi X-Ray Timing Explorer have revealed that three of these new sources are pulsars and two are black hole candidates. In addition, the monitor has led to the announcement of significant outbursts from 24 different galactic and extra-galactic sources, many of which have had follow-up Swift XRT, UVOT and ground based multi-wavelength observations. The transient monitor web pages currently receive an average of 21 visits per day. We will report on the most important results from the transient monitor and also on detection and exposure statistics and outline recent and planned improvements to the monitor. The transient monitor web page is http://swift.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/swift/results/transients/.
    01/2010;
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    ABSTRACT: The population of stellar black holes (SBHs) in the Galaxy and galaxies generally is poorly known in both number and distribution. SBHs are the fossil record of the massive stars in galaxy evolution and may have produced some (if not all) of the intermediate mass (\gsim100\Msun) black holes (IMBHs) and, in turn, the central supermassive black holes (SMBHs) in galactic nuclei. For the first time, a Galaxy-wide census of accreting black holes, and their more readily recognizable tracer population, accreting neutron stars (NSs), could be measured with a wide-field hard X-ray imaging survey and soft X-ray and optical/IR prompt followup -- as proposed for the EXIST mission. Comment: 8 pages. White Paper submitted February 25, 2009, to Science Frontier Panels (SSE, GAN and GCT) for Astro2010 Decadal Survey
    12/2009;
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    G. K. Skinner, G. H. Freeman
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    ABSTRACT: Models in which the number of goals scored by a team in a soccer match follow a Poisson distribution, or a closely related one, have been widely discussed. We here consider a soccer match as an experiment to assess which of two teams is superior and examine the probability that the outcome of the experiment (match) truly represents the relative abilities of the two teams. Given a final score, it is possible by using a Bayesian approach to quantify the probability that it was or was not the case that 'the best team won'. For typical scores, the probability of a misleading result is significant. Modifying the rules of the game to increase the typical number of goals scored would improve the situation, but a level of confidence that would normally be regarded as satisfactory could not be obtained unless the character of the game was radically changed.
    Journal of Applied Statistics 10/2009; 36(10):1087-1095. · 0.45 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Energetic X-ray Imaging Survey Telescope (EXIST) is a proposed next generation multi-wavelength survey mission. The primary instrument is a High Energy telescope (HET) that conducts the deepest survey for Gamma-ray Bursts (GRBs), obscured-accreting and dormant Supermassive Black Holes and Transients of all varieties for immediate followup studies by the two secondary instruments: a Soft X-ray Imager (SXI) and an Optical/Infrared Telescope (IRT). EXIST will explore the early Universe using high redshift GRBs as cosmic probes and survey black holes on all scales. The HET is a coded aperture telescope employing a large array of imaging CZT detectors (4.5 m^2, 0.6 mm pixel) and a hybrid Tungsten mask. We review the current HET concept which follows an intensive design revision by the HET imaging working group and the recent engineering studies in the Instrument and Mission Design Lab at the Goddard Space Flight Center. The HET will locate GRBs and transients quickly (<10-30 sec) and accurately (< 20") for rapid (< 1-3 min) onboard followup soft X-ray and optical/IR (0.3-2.2 micron) imaging and spectroscopy. The broad energy band (5-600 keV) and the wide field of view (~90 deg x 70 deg at 10% coding fraction) are optimal for capturing GRBs, obscured AGNs and rare transients. The continuous scan of the entire sky every 3 hours will establish a finely-sampled long-term history of many X-ray sources, opening up new possibilities for variability studies. Comment: 10 pages, 6 figures, 3 tables, SPIE conference proceedings (UV, X-ray, and Gamma-Ray Space Instrumentation for Astronomy XVI, 7435-9)
    Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering 09/2009; · 0.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Over the next decade, we can expect time domain astronomy to flourish at optical and radio wavelengths. In parallel with these efforts, a dedicated transient "machine" operating at higher energies (X-ray band through soft gamma-rays) is required to reveal the unique subset of events with variable emission predominantly visible above 100 eV. Here we focus on the transient phase space never yet sampled due to the lack of a sensitive, wide-field and triggering facility dedicated exclusively to catching high energy transients and enabling rapid coordinated multi-wavelength follow-up. We first describe the advancements in our understanding of known X-ray transients that can only be enabled through such a facility and then focus on the classes of transients theoretically predicted to be out of reach of current detection capabilities. Finally there is the exciting opportunity of revealing new classes of X-ray transients and unveiling their nature through coordinated follow-up observations at longer wavelengths.
    03/2009;
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    ABSTRACT: We present the results of the analysis of the first 9 months of data of the Swift BAT survey of AGNs in the 14-195 keV band. Using archival X-ray data or follow-up Swift XRT observations, we have identified 129 (103 AGNs) of 130 objects detected at | b| > 15° and with significance >4.8 σ. One source remains unidentified. These same X-ray data have allowed measurement of the X-ray properties of the objects. We fit a power law to the log N–log S distribution, and find the slope to be 1.42 ± 0.14. Characterizing the differential luminosity function data as a broken power law, we find a break luminosity log L*(erg s−1) = 43.85 ± 0.26, a low-luminosity power law slope a = 0.84+ 0.16−0.22, and a high-luminosity power law slope b = 2.55+ 0.43−0.30, similar to the values that have been reported based on INTEGRAL data. We obtain a mean photon index 1.98 in the 14-195 keV band, with an rms spread of 0.27. Integration of our luminosity function gives a local volume density of AGNs above 1041 erg s−1 of 2.4 × 10−3 Mpc−3, which is about 10% of the total luminous local galaxy density above M* = − 19.75. We have obtained X-ray spectra from the literature and from Swift XRT follow-up observations. These show that the distribution of log nH is essentially flat from nH = 1020 to 1024 cm−2, with 50% of the objects having column densities of less than 1022 cm−2. BAT Seyfert galaxies have a median redshift of 0.03, a maximum log luminosity of 45.1, and approximately half have log nH > 22.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2008; 681(1):113. · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The center of our Galaxy is a known strong source of electron-positron 511 keV annihilation radiation. Thus far, however, there have been no reliable detections of annihilation radiation outside of the central radian of our Galaxy. One of the primary objectives of the INTEGRAL (International Gamma-Ray Astrophysics Laboratory) mission, launched in 2002 October, is the detailed study of this radiation. The Spectrometer on INTEGRAL (SPI) is a high-resolution, coded-aperture gamma-ray telescope with an unprecedented combination of sensitivity, angular resolution, and energy resolution. We report results from the first 10 months of observation. During this period a significant fraction of the observing time was spent in or near the Galactic plane. No positive annihilation flux was detected outside of the central region ( l > 40°) of our Galaxy. In this paper we describe the observations and data analysis methods and give limits on the 511 keV flux.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2008; 621(1):296. · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Our \textit{Swift} observations of RS Oph form an unprecedented X-ray dataset to undertake investigations of both the central source and the interaction of the outburst ejecta with the circumstellar environment. Over the first month, the XRT data are dominated by emission from rapidly evolving shocks. We discuss the differences in derived parameters from those found for \textit{RXTE} at early times and the evolution of the X-ray emission to much later times. It is apparent that at late times several emission components are present. We find no strong evidence of the proposed shock break-out in our data.
    10/2008;
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    ABSTRACT: We provide an overview of positron astronomy results that have been obtained using the INTEGRAL spectrometer SPI, and discuss their implications for the still mysterious origin of positrons in our Galaxy. It has long been known that the 511 keV positron annihilation emission is strongest from the central region of our Galaxy. Recently, it has been discovered with the SPI spectrometer that the weaker 511 keV line emission from the inner Galactic disk appears to be asymmetric, with the emission to the west of the Galactic center being about twice as strong than that to the east. This distribution of positron annihilation resembles that of low mass X-ray binaries as observed with the INTEGRAL imager IBIS at hard X-ray energies, suggesting that these systems could provide a significant portion of the positrons in our Galaxy. In addition, the spectrometer SPI has permitted unprecedented spectroscopy of annihilation radiation from the bulge and disk regions of the Galaxy, which commences to yield important insights into the conditions of the medium in which the positrons annihilate.
    New Astronomy Reviews 10/2008; · 6.72 Impact Factor
  • The Astronomer's Telegram. 05/2008; 1528:1.

Publication Stats

3k Citations
491.55 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2008–2009
    • University of Maryland, College Park
      Maryland, United States
    • Loyola University Maryland
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2005–2007
    • Paul Sabatier University - Toulouse III
      Tolosa de Llenguadoc, Midi-Pyrénées, France
  • 1976–2006
    • University of Birmingham
      • School of Physics and Astronomy
      Birmingham, England, United Kingdom
  • 1991
    • George Mason University
      Fairfax, Virginia, United States
  • 1990
    • Netherlands Institute for Space Research, Utrecht
      Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • 1984
    • University of Oxford
      Oxford, England, United Kingdom