A. K. H. Kong

National Tsing Hua University, Hsin-chu-hsien, Taiwan, Taiwan

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Publications (218)702.83 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We have investigated the intrabinary shock emission from the redback millisecond pulsar PSR J2129-0429 with XMM-Newton and Fermi. Orbital modulation in X-ray and UV can be clearly seen. Its X-ray modulation has a double-peak structure with a dip in between. The observed X-rays are non-thermal dominant which can be modeled by a power-law with a photon index of ~1.2. Intrabinary shock can be the origin of the observed X-rays. The UV light curve is resulted from the ellipsoidal modulation of the companion. Modeling the UV light curve prefers a large viewing angle. The heating effect of the UV light curve is found to be negligible which suggests the high energy radiation beam of PSR J2129-0429 does not direct toward its companion. On the other hand, no significant orbital modulation can be found in gamma-ray which suggests the majority of the gamma-rays come from the pulsar.
    02/2015; 801(2). DOI:10.1088/2041-8205/801/2/L27
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    ABSTRACT: Millisecond pulsars (MSPs) are thought to born in low-mass X-ray binaries when the neutron star has gained enough angular momentum from the accreting materials of its companion star. It is generally believed that a radio MSP is born when the neutron star stops accreting and enters a rotation-powered state. Exactly what happens during the transition time was poorly understood until a year ago. In the past year, observations have revealed a few objects that not only switched from one state to the other (as predicted in the above picture), but also have swung between the two states within weeks to years. In this work, we present observations of two of these transition objects (PSR J1023+0038 and XSS J12270-4859) and a theoretical framework that tries to explain their high-energy radiation.
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    ABSTRACT: The binary system PSR B1259-63/LS 2883 is well sampled in radio, X-rays, and TeV gamma-rays, and shows orbital phase-dependent variability in these frequencies. The first detection of GeV gamma-rays from the system was made around the 2010 periastron passage. In this Letter, we present an analysis of X-ray and gamma-ray data obtained by the Swift/XRT, NuSTAR/FPM, and Fermi/LAT, through the recent periastron passage which occurred on 2014 May 4. While PSR B1259-63/LS 2883 was not detected by the LAT before and during this passage, we show that the GeV flares occurred at a similar orbital phase as in early 2011, thus establishing the repetitive nature of the post-periastron GeV flares. Multiple flares each lasting for a few days have been observed and short-term variability is seen as well. We also found X-ray flux variation contemporaneous with the GeV flare for the first time. A strong evidence of the keV-to-GeV connection came from the broadband high-energy spectra, which we interpret as synchrotron radiation from the shocked pulsar wind.
    12/2014; 798(1). DOI:10.1088/2041-8205/798/1/L26
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    ABSTRACT: We have investigated the field around the radio-quiet $\gamma$-ray pulsar, PSR J2021+4026, with a ~140 ks XMM-Newton observation and a ~56 ks archival Chandra data. Through analyzing the pulsed spectrum, we show that the X-ray pulsation is purely thermal in nature which suggests the pulsation is originated from a hot polar cap with $T\sim3\times10^{6}$ K on the surface of a rotating neutron star. On the other hand, the power-law component that dominates the pulsar emission in the hard band is originated from off-pulse phases, which possibly comes from a pulsar wind nebula. In re-analyzing the Chandra data, we have confirmed the presence of bow-shock nebula which extends from the pulsar to west by ~10 arcsec. The orientation of this nebular feature suggests that the pulsar is probably moving eastward which is consistent with the speculated proper motion by extrapolating from the nominal geometrical center of the supernova remnant (SNR) G78.2+2.1 to the current pulsar position. For G78.2+2.1, our deep XMM-Newton observation also enables a study of the central region and part of the southeastern region with superior photon statistics. The column absorption derived for the SNR is comparable with that for PSR J2021+4026, which supports their association. The remnant emission in both examined regions are in an non-equilibrium ionization state. Also, the elapsed time of both regions after shock-heating is apparently shorter than the Sedov age of G78.2+2.1. This might suggest the reverse shock has reached the center not long ago. Apart from PSR J2021+4026 and G78.2+2.1, we have also serendipitously detected an X-ray flash-like event XMM J202154.7+402855 from this XMM-Newton observation.
    The Astrophysical Journal 11/2014; 799(1). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/799/1/76 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The First \fermi-LAT Catalog of Sources Above 10 GeV reported evidence of pulsed emission above 25 GeV from 12 pulsars, including the Vela pulsar, which showed evidence of pulsation at $>37$ GeV energy bands. Using 62 months of \fermi-LAT data, we analyzed the gamma-ray emission from the Vela pulsar and searched for pulsed emission above 50 GeV. Having confirmed the significance of the pulsation in 30-50 GeV with the H-test (p-value $\sim10^{-77}$), we extracted its pulse profile using the Bayesian block algorithm and compared it with the distribution of the 5 observed photons above 50 GeV using the likelihood ratio test. Pulsation was significantly detected for photons above 50 GeV with p-value $=3\times10^{-5}$ ($4.2\sigma$). The detection of pulsation is significant above $4\sigma$ at $>79$ GeV and above $3\sigma$ at $>90$ GeV energy bands, making this the highest energy pulsation significantly detected by the LAT. We explore non-stationary outer gap scenario of the very high-energy emissions from the Vela pulsar.
    10/2014; 797(2). DOI:10.1088/2041-8205/797/2/L13
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    ABSTRACT: We report the first hard X-ray (3-79 keV) observations of the millisecond pulsar (MSP) binary PSR J1023+0038 using NuSTAR. This system has been shown transiting between a low-mass X-ray binary (LMXB) state and a rotation-powered MSP state. The NuSTAR observations were taken in both LMXB state and rotation-powered state. The source is clearly seen in both states up to ~79 keV. During the LMXB state, the 3-79 keV flux is about a factor of 10 higher that in the rotation-powered state. The hard X-rays show clear orbital modulation during the X-ray faint rotation-powered state but the X-ray orbital period is not detected in the X-ray bright LMXB state. In addition, the X-ray spectrum changes from a flat power-law spectrum during the rotation-powered state to a steeper power-law spectrum in the LMXB state. We suggest that the hard X-rays are due to the intra-binary shock from the interaction between the pulsar wind and the injected material from the low-mass companion star. During the rotation-powered MSP state, the X-ray orbital modulation is due to Doppler boosting of the shocked pulsar wind. At the LMXB state, the evaporating matter of the accretion disk due to the gamma-ray irradiation from the pulsar stops almost all the pulsar wind, resulting the disappearance of the X-ray orbital modulation.
    The Astrophysical Journal 10/2014; 797(2). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/797/2/111 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report multi-wavelength observations of the unidentified Fermi object 2FGL J1653.6-0159. With the help of high-resolution X-ray observation, we have identified an X-ray and optical counterpart of 2FGL J1653.6-0159. The source exhibits a periodic modulation of 74.93 min in optical and possibly also in X-ray. We suggest that 2FGL J1653.6-0159 is a compact binary system with an orbital period of 74.93 min. Combining the gamma-ray and X-ray properties, 2FGL J1653.6-0159 is potentially a black widow/redback type gamma-ray millisecond pulsar (MSP). The optical and X-ray lightcurve profile shows that the companion is mildly heated by the high-energy emission and the X-rays are from intrabinary shock. Although no radio pulsation has been detected yet, we estimated that the spin period of the MSP is ~2 ms based on a theoretical model. If pulsation can be confirmed in the future, 2FGL J1653.6-0159 will become the first ultracompact rotation-powered MSP.
    The Astrophysical Journal Letters 08/2014; 794(2). DOI:10.1088/2041-8205/794/2/L22 · 5.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the X-ray pulsation of ~173.3 ms for the "next Geminga", PSR J1836+5925, with recent XMM-Newton investigations. The X-ray periodicity is consistent wtih the gamma-ray ephemeris at the same epoch. The X-ray folded light curve has a sinusoidal structure which is different from the double-peaked gamma-ray pulse profile. We have also analysed the X-ray phase-averaged spectra which shows the X-ray emission from PSR J1836+5925 is thermal dominant. This suggests the X-ray pulsation mainly originates from the modulated hot spot on the stellar surface.
    The Astrophysical Journal Letters 08/2014; 793(1). DOI:10.1088/2041-8205/793/1/L8 · 5.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the optical identification of the companion to the {\it Fermi} black widow millisecond pulsar PSR J1544+4937. We find a highly variable source on Keck LRIS images at the nominal pulsar position, with 2 magnitude variations over orbital period in the B, g, R, and I bands. The nearly achromatic light curves are difficult to explain with a simply irradiated hemisphere model, and suggest that the optical emission is dominated by a nearly isothermal hot patch on the surface of the companion facing the pulsar. We roughly constrain the distance to PSR J1544+4937 to be between 2 and 5 kpc. A more reliable distance measurement is needed in order to constrain the composition of the companion.
    The Astrophysical Journal Letters 06/2014; 791(1). DOI:10.1088/2041-8205/791/1/L5 · 5.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We study mechanisms of multi-wavelength emissions (X-ray, GeV and TeV gamma-rays) from the gamma-ray binary LS~5039. This paper is composed of two parts. In the first part, we report on results of observational analysis using four year data of \fermi\ Large Area Telescope. Due to the improvement of instrumental response function and increase of the statistics, the observational uncertainties of the spectrum in $\sim$100-300 MeV bands and $>10$GeV bands are significantly improved. The present data analysis suggests that the 0.1-100GeV emissions from LS~5039 contain three different components; (i) the first component contributes to $<$1GeV emissions around superior conjunction, (ii) the second component dominates in 1-10GeV energy bands and (iii) the third component is compatible to lower energy tail of the TeV emissions. In the second part, we develop an emission model to explain the properties of the phase-resolved emissions in multi-wavelength observations. Assuming that LS~5039 includes a pulsar, we argue that both emissions from magnetospheric outer gap and inverse-Compton scattering process of cold-relativistic pulsar wind contribute to the observed GeV emissions. We assume that the pulsar is wrapped by two kinds of termination shock; Shock-I due to the interaction between the pulsar wind and the stellar wind and Shock-II due to the effect of the orbital motion. We propose that the X-rays are produced by the synchrotron radiation at Shock-I region and the TeV gamma-rays are produced by the inverse-Compton scattering process at Shock-II region.
    The Astrophysical Journal 06/2014; 790(1). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/790/1/18 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In re-analyzing the archival Chandra data of the globular cluster 47 Tucanae, we have detected a new diffuse X-ray emission feature within the half-mass radius of the cluster. The spectrum of the diffuse emission can be described by a power-law model plus a plasma component with photon index Γ ~ 1.0 and plasma temperature kT ~ 0.2 keV. While the thermal component is apparently uniform, the non-thermal contribution falls off exponentially from the core. The observed properties could possibly be explained in the context of multiple shocks resulting from the collisions among the stellar wind in the cluster and the inverse Compton scattering between the pulsar wind and the relic photons.
    The Astrophysical Journal Letters 06/2014; 788(2):L40. DOI:10.1088/2041-8205/788/2/L40 · 5.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In re-analyzing the archival Chandra data of the globular cluster 47 Tucanae, we have detected a new diffuse X-ray emission feature within the half-mass radius of the cluster. The spectrum of the diffuse emission can be described by a power-law model plus a plasma component with photon index $\Gamma\sim1.0$ and plasma temperature $kT\sim0.2$ keV. While the thermal component is apparently uniform, the non-thermal contribution falls off exponentially from the core. The observed properties could possibly be explained in the context of multiple shocks resulted from the collisions among the stellar wind in the cluster and the inverse Compton scattering between the pulsar wind and the relic photons.
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    ABSTRACT: In re-analyzing the archival Chandra data of the globular cluster 47 Tucanae, we have detected a new diffuse X-ray emission feature within the half-mass radius of the cluster. The spectrum of the diffuse emission can be described by a power-law model plus a plasma component with photon index $\Gamma\sim1.0$ and plasma temperature $kT\sim0.2$ keV. While the thermal component is apparently uniform, the non-thermal contribution falls off exponentially from the core. The observed properties could possibly be explained in the context of multiple shocks resulted from the collisions among the stellar wind in the cluster and the inverse Compton scattering between the pulsar wind and the relic photons.
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    ABSTRACT: We report on XMM-Newton and Chandra observations of the Galactic supernova remnant candidate G38.7-1.4, together with complementary radio, infrared, and gamma-ray data. An approximately elliptical X-ray structure is found to be well correlated with radio shell as seen by the Very Large Array. The X-ray spectrum of G38.7-1.4 can be well-described by an absorbed collisional ionization equilibrium plasma model, which suggests the plasma is shock heated. Based on the morphology and the spectral behaviour, we suggest that G38.7-1.4 is indeed a supernova remnant belongs to a mix-morphology category.
    The Astrophysical Journal 03/2014; 785(2). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/785/2/118 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The iPTF detection of the most recent outburst of the recurrent nova system RX J0045.4+4154 in the Andromeda Galaxy has enabled the unprecedented study of a massive (M>1.3 $M_\odot$) accreting white dwarf (WD). We detected this nova as part of the near daily iPTF monitoring of M31 to a depth of R$\approx$21 and triggered optical photometry, spectroscopy and soft X-ray monitoring of the outburst. Peaking at an absolute magnitude of M_R$\approx$-6.6 mag, and with a decay time of 1 mag per day, it is a faint and very fast novae. It shows optical emission lines of He/N and expansion velocities of 1900 to 2600 km/s 1-4 days after the optical peak. The Swift monitoring of the X-ray evolution revealed a supersoft source (SSS) with $kT_{eff}$ $\approx$ 90-110 eV that appeared within 5 days after the optical peak, and lasted only 12 days. Most remarkably, this is not the first event from this system, rather it is a recurrent nova with a time between outbursts of approximately 1 year, the shortest known. Recurrent X-ray emission from this binary was detected by ROSAT in 1992 and 1993, and the source was well characterized as a M>1.3 $M_\odot$ WD SSS. Both the duration and effective temperature of the SS phase imply M>1.32 $M_\odot$, while MESA models of accreting WDs allow us to constrain the accretion rate to $\dot{M}>1.7\times10^{-7}$ $M_\odot$/yr and WD mass >1.32 $M_\odot$. If the WD keeps 30% of the accreted material, it will take less than a Myr to reach core densities high enough for carbon ignition (if made of C/O) or electron capture (if made of O/Ne) to end the binary evolution.
    The Astrophysical Journal 01/2014; 786(1). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/786/1/61 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent observations strongly suggest that the millisecond pulsar binary PSR J1023+0038 has developed an accretion disk since 2013 June. We present the multi-wavelength analysis of PSR J1023+0038, which reveals that 1) its gamma-rays suddenly brightened within a few days in June/July 2013 and has remained at a high gamma-ray state for several months; 2) both UV and X-ray fluxes have increased by roughly an order of magnitude, and 3) the spectral energy distribution has changed significantly after the gamma-ray sudden flux change. Time variabilities associated with UV and X-rays are on the order of 100-500 seconds and 50-100 seconds respectively. Our model suggests that a newly formed accretion disk due to the sudden increase of the stellar wind could explain the changes of all these observed features. The increase of UV is emitted from the disk, and a new component in gamma-rays is produced by inverse Compton scattering between the new UV component and pulsar wind. The increase of X-rays results from the enhancement of injection pulsar wind energy into the intra-binary shock due to the increase of the stellar wind. We also predict that the radio pulses may be blocked by the evaporated winds from the disk and the pulsar is still powered by rotation.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2013; 785(2). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/785/2/131 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present radio continuum mapping, optical imaging, and spectroscopy of the newly discovered double-peaked, broad-lined active galactic nucleus (AGN) WISE J233237.05–505643.5 at redshift z = 0.3447. This source exhibits an FR-I and FR-II hybrid morphology, characterized by a bright core, jet, and Doppler-boosted lobe structures in Australian Telescope Compact Array continuum maps at 1.5, 5.6, and 9 GHz. Unlike most FR-II objects, W2332–5056 is hosted by a disk-like galaxy. The core has a projected 5'' linear radio feature that is perpendicular to the curved primary jet, hinting at unusual and complex activity within the inner 25 kpc. The multi-epoch, optical-near-IR photometric measurements indicate significant variability over a 3-20 yr baseline from the AGN component. Gemini South optical data show unusual double-peaked emission-line features: the centroids of the broad-lined components of Hα and Hβ are blueshifted with respect to the narrow lines and host galaxy by ~3800 km s–1. We examine possible cases that involve single or double supermassive black holes in the system and discuss the required future investigations to disentangle the mysterious nature of this system.
    The Astrophysical Journal 12/2013; 779(1):41-. DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/779/1/41 · 6.28 Impact Factor
  • P. H. T. Tam, A. K. H. Kong, K. L. Li
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    ABSTRACT: Following an earlier report of decreased brightness in optical and X-rays, and possibly gamma-rays, of XSS J12270-4859 (ATel #5647), we provide further information based on Fermi/LAT and Swift/XRT observations of this gamma-ray emitting low-mass X-ray binary.
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    ABSTRACT: We have investigated the X-ray and $\gamma$-ray properties of the redback millisecond pulsar PSR J1723-2837 with XMM-Newton, Chandra and Fermi. We have discovered the X-ray orbital modulation of this binary system with the minimum that coincides with the phases of radio eclipse. The X-ray emission is clearly non-thermal in nature which can be well described by a simple power-law with a photon index of $\sim1.2$. The phase-averaged luminosity is $\sim9\times10^{31}$ erg/s in 0.3-10 keV which consumes $\sim0.2\%$ of the spin-down power. We have detected the $\gamma-$ray emission in $0.1-300$ GeV from this system at a significance of $\sim6\sigma$ for the first time. The $\gamma-$rays in this energy range consumes $\sim2\%$ of the spin-down power and can be modeled by a power-law with a photon index of $\sim2.6$. We discuss the high energy properties of the new redback in the context of a intrabinary shock model.
    The Astrophysical Journal 11/2013; 781(1). DOI:10.1088/2041-8205/781/1/L21 · 6.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this paper we present a combined analysis of data obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), Very Large Telescope (VLT), and Swift X-ray telescope (XRT) of the intermediate mass black hole ESO 243-49 HLX-1 that were taken 2 months apart between September and November 2010. Previous separate analyses of these data found that they were consistent with an irradiated accretion disc with contribution from either a very young or very old stellar population, and also indicated that the optical flux of the HLX-1 counterpart could be variable. Such variability could only be attributed to a varying accretion disc, so simultaneous analysis of all data sets should break the degeneracies in the model fits. We thus simultaneously fit the broad-band spectral energy distribution (SED) from near-infrared through to X-ray wavelengths of the two epochs of data with a model consisting of an irradiated accretion disc and a stellar population. We show that this combined analysis rules out an old stellar population, finding that the SED is dominated by emission from an accretion disc with moderate reprocessing in the outer disc around an intermediate mass black hole imbedded in a young (20 Myr) stellar cluster with a mass of 1E5 Msun. We also place an upper limit on the mass of an additional hidden old stellar population of 1E6 Msun. However, optical r-band observations of HLX-1 obtained with the Gemini-South telescope covering part of the decay from a later X-ray outburst are consistent with constant optical flux, indicating that the observed variability between the HST and VLT observations could be spurious caused by differences in the background subtraction applied to the two optical data sets. In this scenario the contribution of the stellar population, and thus the stellar mass of the cluster, may be higher (abridged).
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 10/2013; 437(2). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stt1924 · 5.23 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
702.83 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2008–2015
    • National Tsing Hua University
      • Department of Physics
      Hsin-chu-hsien, Taiwan, Taiwan
    • Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
      • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2014
    • University of California, Santa Barbara
      • Department of Physics
      Santa Barbara, California, United States
  • 2010
    • The University of Hong Kong
      • Department of Physics
      Hong Kong, Hong Kong
  • 2005–2008
    • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
      • • Department of Physics
      • • Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
    • Space Telescope Science Institute
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
  • 2006
    • Utrecht University
      • Astronomical Institute
      Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands
  • 2001–2004
    • Tufts University
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Georgia, United States