NuSTAR detection of high-energy X-ray emission and rapid variability from sagittarius A* flares

Nicolas M. Barrière, John A. Tomsick, Frederick K. Baganoff, Steven E. Boggs, Finn Erland Christensen, William W. Craig, Jason Dexter, Brian Grefenstette, Charles J. Hailey, Fiona A. Harrison, Kristin K. Madsen, Kaya Mori, Daniel Stern, William W. Zhang, Shuo Zhang, Andreas Zoglauer

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

355 Downloads (Pure)


Sagittarius A* harbors the supermassive black hole that lies at the dynamical center of our Galaxy. Sagittarius A* spends most of its time in a low luminosity emission state but flares frequently in the infrared and X-ray, increasing up to a few hundred fold in brightness for up to a few hours at a time. The physical processes giving rise to the X-ray flares are uncertain. Here we report the detection with the NuSTAR observatory in Summer and Fall 2012 of four low to medium amplitude X-ray flares to energies up to 79 keV. For the first time, we clearly see that the power-law spectrum of Sagittarius A* X-ray flares extends to high energy, with no evidence for a cutoff. Although the photon index of the absorbed power-law fits are in agreement with past observations, we find a difference between the photon index of two of the flares (significant at the 95% confidence level). The spectra of the two brightest flares (∼55 times quiescence in the 2-10 keV band) are compared to simple physical models in an attempt to identify the main X-ray emission mechanism, but the data do not allow us to significantly discriminate between them. However, we confirm the previous finding that the parameters obtained with synchrotron models are, for the X-ray emission, physically more reasonable than those obtained with inverse Compton models. One flare exhibits large and rapid (
Original languageEnglish
Article number46
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2014


Dive into the research topics of 'NuSTAR detection of high-energy X-ray emission and rapid variability from sagittarius A* flares'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this