A. K. H. Kong

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

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Publications (229)708.43 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We report the results from a detailed γ-ray investigation in the field of two “dark accelerators”, HESS J1745-303 and HESS J1741-302, with 6.9 years of data obtained by the Fermi Large Area Telescope. For HESS J1745-303, we found that its MeV-GeV emission is mainly originated from the “Region A” of the TeV feature. Its γ-ray spectrum can be modelled with a single power-law with a photon index of Γ ∼ 2.5 from few hundreds MeV to TeV. Moreover, an elongated feature, which extends from “Region A” towards north-west for ∼1.3°, is discovered for the first time. The orientation of this feature is similar to that of a large scale atomic/molecular gas distribution. For HESS J1741-302, our analysis does not yield any MeV-GeV counterpart for this unidentified TeV source. On the other hand, we have detected a new point source, Fermi J1740.1-3013, serendipitously. Its spectrum is apparently curved which resembles that of a γ-ray pulsar. This makes it possibly associated with PSR B1737-20 or PSR J1739-3023.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    ABSTRACT: We present new observations of the "supernova impostor" SN 2010da using the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope. During the initial 2010 outburst, the 0.3-10 keV luminosity was observed by Swift to be $\sim5\times10^{38}$ erg s$^{-1}$ and faded by a factor of $\sim$25 in a four month period. Our two new Chandra observations show a factor of $\sim$10 increase in the 0.35-8 keV X-ray flux, from $\sim$4$\times10^{36}$ erg s$^{-1}$ to $4\times10^{37}$ erg s$^{-1}$ in $\sim$6 months, and the X-ray spectrum is consistent in both observations with a power law photon index of $\Gamma\sim0$. We find evidence of X-ray spectral state changes: when SN 2010da is in a high-luminosity state, the X-ray spectrum is harder ($\Gamma\sim0$) compared to the low-luminosity state ($\Gamma\sim1.2\pm0.8$). Using our Hubble observations, we fit the color magnitude diagram of the coeval stellar population to estimate a time since formation of the SN 2010da progenitor system of $\lesssim$5 Myr. Our observations are consistent with SN 2010da being a high-mass X-ray binary (HMXB) composed of a neutron star and a luminous blue variable-like companion, although we cannot rule out the possibility that SN 2010da is an unusually X-ray bright massive star. The $\lesssim$5 Myr age is consistent with the theoretically predicted delay time between the formation of a massive binary and the onset of the HMXB phase. It is possible that the initial 2010 outburst marked the beginning of X-ray production in the system, making SN 2010da possibly the first massive progenitor binary ever observed to evolve into an HMXB.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2016 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  • K. S. Cheng · D. O. Chernyshov · V. A. Dogiel · Albert K. H. Kong · C. M. Ko
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    ABSTRACT: Swift, Chandra and XMM have found a weak but nearly constant X-ray component from Swift J1644+57 that appeared at ~500 days and was visible at least until ~ 1400 days after the stellar capture, which cannot be explained by standard tidal disruption theories. We suggest that this X-ray afterglow component may result from Thomson scattering between the primary X-rays and its surrounding plasma, i.e. the Compton echo effect. Similar phenomena has also been observed from molecular clouds in our Galactic Center, which were caused by the past activity of Srg A*. If this interpretation of Swift J1644+57 afterglow is correct, this is the first Compton Echo effect observed in the cosmological distances.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015
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    K. S. Cheng · D. O. Chernyshov · V. A. Dogiel · Albert K. H. Kong · C. M. Ko
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    ABSTRACT: Swift, Chandra and XMM have found a weak but nearly constant X-ray component from Swift J1644+57 that appeared at $\sim$ 500 days and was visible at least until ~ 1400 days after the stellar capture, which cannot be explained by standard tidal disruption theories. We suggest that this X-ray afterglow component may result from Thomson scattering between the primary X-rays and its surrounding plasma, i.e. the Compton echo effect. Similar phenomena has also been observed from molecular clouds in our Galactic Center, which were caused by the past activity of Srg A*. If this interpretation of Swift J1644+57 afterglow is correct, this is the first Compton Echo effect observed in the cosmological distances.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2015
  • Roberto Soria · Albert K. H. Kong
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    ABSTRACT: The M 101 galaxy contains the best-known example of an ultraluminous supersoft source (ULS), dominated by a thermal component at kT ≈ 0.1 keV. The origin of the thermal component and the relation between ULSs and standard (broad-band spectrum) ultraluminous X-ray sources are still controversial. We re-examined the X-ray spectral and timing properties of the M 101 ULS using archival Chandra and XMM–Newton observations. We show that the X-ray time-variability and spectral properties are inconsistent with standard-disc emission. The characteristic radius Rbb of the thermal emitter varies from epoch to epoch between ≈10 000 and ≈100 000 km; the colour temperature kTbb varies between ≈50 and ≈140 eV and the two quantities scale approximately as $R_{\rm bb} \propto T_{\rm bb}^{-2}$. In addition to the smooth continuum, we also find (at some epochs) spectral residuals well fitted with thermal-plasma models and absorption edges: we interpret this as evidence that we are looking at a clumpy, multitemperature outflow. We suggest that at sufficiently high accretion rates and inclination angles, the supercritical, radiatively driven outflow becomes effectively optically thick and completely thermalizes the harder X-ray photons from the inner part of the inflow, removing the hard spectral tail. We develop a simple, spherically symmetric outflow model and show that it is consistent with the observed temperatures, radii and luminosities. A larger, cooler photosphere shifts the emission peak into the far-UV and makes the source dimmer in X-rays but possibly ultraluminous in the UV. We compare our results and interpretation with those of Liu et al.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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    L. C. -C. Lin · C. -P. Hu · Albert K. H. Kong · D. C. -C. Yen · Jumpei Takata · Yi Chou
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    ABSTRACT: Long-term X-ray modulations on time-scales from tens to hundreds of days have been widely studied for X-ray binaries located in the Milky Way and the Magellanic Clouds. For other nearby galaxies, only the most luminous X-ray sources can be monitored with dedicated observations. We here present the first systematic study of long-term X-ray variability of four ultraluminous X-ray sources (ESO 243-49 HLX-1, Holmberg IX X-1, M81 X-6, and NGC 5408 X-1) monitored with Swift. By using various dynamic techniques to analyse their light curves, we find several interesting low-frequency quasi-periodicities. Although the periodic signals may not represent any stable orbital modulations, these detections reveal that such long-term regular patterns may be related to superorbital periods and structure of the accretion discs. In particular, we show that the outburst recurrence time of ESO 243-49 HLX-1 varies over time and suggest that it may not be the orbital period. Instead, it may be due to some kinds of precession, and the true binary period is expected to be much shorter.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

  • No preview · Article · Jul 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Here we report the results of searching millisecond pulsar (MSP) candidates from the Fermi LAT second source catalog (2FGL). Seven unassociated $\gamma-$ray sources in this catalog are identified as promising MSP candidates based on their $\gamma$-ray properties. Through the X-ray analysis, we have detected possible X-ray counterparts, localized to an arcsecond accuracy. We have systematically estimated their X-ray fluxes and compared with the corresponding $\gamma$-ray fluxes. The X-ray to $\gamma$-ray flux ratios for 2FGL J1653.6-0159 and 2FGL J1946.4-5402 are comparable with the typical value for pulsars. For 2FGL J1625.2-0020, 2FGL J1653.6-0159 and 2FGL J1946.4-5402, their candidate X-ray counterparts are bright enough for performing a detailed spectral and temporal analysis to discriminate their thermal/non thermal nature and search for the periodic signal. We have also searched for possible optical/IR counterparts at the X-ray positions. For the optical/IR source coincident with the brightest X-ray object that associated with 2FGL J1120.0-2204, its spectral energy distribution is comparable with a late-type star. Evidence for the variability has also been found by examining its optical light curve. All the aforementioned 2FGL sources resemble a pulsar in one or more aspects, which make them as the promising targets for follow-up investigations.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2015 · The Astrophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: We present comprehensive X-ray point source catalogs of NGC~55, NGC~2403, and NGC~4214 as part of the Chandra Local Volume Survey. The combined archival observations have effective exposure times of 56.5 ks, 190 ks, and 79 ks for NGC~55, NGC~2403, and NGC~4214, respectively. When combined with our published catalogs for NGC 300 and NGC 404, our survey contains 629 X-ray sources total down to a limiting unabsorbed luminosity of $\sim5\times10^{35}$ erg s$^{-1}$ in the 0.35-8 keV band in each of the five galaxies. We present X-ray hardness ratios, spectral analysis, radial source distributions, and an analysis of the temporal variability for the X-ray sources detected at high significance. To constrain the nature of each X-ray source, we carried out cross-correlations with multi-wavelength data sets. We searched overlapping Hubble Space Telescope observations for optical counterparts to our X-ray detections to provide preliminary classifications for each X-ray source as a likely X-ray binary, background AGN, supernova remnant, or foreground star.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2015 · The Astronomical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Since 2006, the European Near Earth Asteroids Research (EURONEAR) project has been contributing to the research of near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) within a European network. One of the main aims is the amelioration of the orbits of NEAs, and starting in 2014 February we focus on the recovery of one-opposition NEAs using the Isaac Newton Telescope (INT) in La Palma in override mode. Part of this NEA recovery project, since 2014 June EURONEAR serendipitously started to discover and secure the first NEAs from La Palma and using the INT, thanks to the teamwork including amateurs and students who promptly reduce the data, report discoveries and secure new objects recovered with the INT and few other telescopes from the EURONEAR network. Five NEAs were discovered with the INT, including 2014 LU14, 2014 NL52 (one very fast rotator), 2014 OL339 (the fourth known Earth quasi-satellite), 2014 SG143 (a quite large NEA), and 2014 VP. Another very fast moving NEA was discovered but was unfortunately lost due to lack of fo
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2015
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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.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2014
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    P. H. T. Tam · K. L. Li · J. Takata · A. T. Okazaki · C. Y. Hui · A. K. H. Kong
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2014
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2014 · The Astrophysical Journal
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2014 · The Astrophysical Journal
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · The Astrophysical Journal Letters
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · The Astrophysical Journal Letters
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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.
    Preview · Article · Jun 2014 · The Astrophysical Journal Letters
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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.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · The Astrophysical Journal

Publication Stats

2k Citations
708.43 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2008-2015
    • National Tsing Hua University
      • Department of Physics
      Hsin-chu-hsien, Taiwan, Taiwan
  • 2014
    • University of California, Santa Barbara
      • Department of Physics
      Santa Barbara, California, United States
    • Chungnam National University
      • Department of Astronomy and Space Science
      Daiden, Daejeon, South Korea
  • 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
  • 2003-2008
    • Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
      • Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
      Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
  • 2001-2008
    • Tufts University
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Бостон, Georgia, United States
  • 2006
    • Utrecht University
      • Astronomical Institute
      Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands