The Origin of the Hot Gas in the Galactic Halo: Confronting Models with XMM-Newton Observations

The Astrophysical Journal (Impact Factor: 5.99). 05/2010; 723(1). DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/723/1/935
Source: arXiv


We compare the predictions of three physical models for the origin of the hot halo gas with the observed halo X-ray emission, derived from 26 high-latitude XMM-Newton observations of the soft X-ray background between l = 120 degrees and l = 240 degrees. These observations were chosen from a much larger set of observations as they are expected to be the least contaminated by solar wind charge exchange emission. We characterize the halo emission in the XMM-Newton band with a single-temperature plasma model. We find that the observed halo temperature is fairly constant across the sky (similar to(1.8-2.4) x 10(6) K), whereas the halo emission measure varies by an order of magnitude (similar to 0.0005-0.006 cm(-6) pc). When we compare our observations with the model predictions, we find that most of the hot gas observed with XMM-Newton does not reside in isolated extraplanar supernova (SN) remnants-this model predicts emission an order of magnitude too faint. A model of an SNdriven interstellar medium, including the flow of hot gas from the disk into the halo in a galactic fountain, gives good agreement with the observed 0.4-2.0 keV surface brightness. This model overpredicts the halo X-ray temperature by a factor of similar to 2, but there are a several possible explanations for this discrepancy. We therefore conclude that a major (possibly dominant) contributor to the halo X-ray emission observed with XMM-Newton is a fountain of hot gas driven into the halo by disk SNe. However, we cannot rule out the possibility that the extended hot halo of accreted material predicted by disk galaxy formation models also contributes to the emission.

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Available from: David B. Henley, Apr 11, 2014
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