Iron and nickel line diagnostics for the galactic center diffuse emission

Katsuji Koyama*, Yoshiaki Hyodo, Tatsuya Inui, Hiroshi Nakajima, Hironori Matsumoto, Takeshi Go Tsuru, Tadayuki Takahashi, Yoshitomo Maeda, Noriko Y. Yamazaki, Hiroshi Murakami, Shigeo Yamauchi, Yohko Tsuboi, Atsushi Senda, Jun Kataoka, Hiromitsu Takahashi, Stephen S. Holt, Gregory V. Brown

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Citations (Scopus)


We have observed the diffuse X-ray emission from the Galactic Center (GC) using the X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (XIS) on Suzaku. The high-energy resolution and the low-background orbit provided excellent spectra of the GC diffuse X-rays (GCDX). The XIS found many emission lines in the GCDX near the energy of K-shell transitions of iron and nickel. The most pronounced features are Fe I Kα at 6.4 keV and K-shell absorption edge at 7.1 keV, which are from neutral and/or low ionization states of iron, and the K-shell lines at 6.7 keV and 6.9 keV from He-like (Fe XXV Kα) and hydrogenic (Fe XXVI Lyα) ions of iron. In addition, Ka lines from neutral or low ionization nickel (Ni I Kα) and He-like nickel (NiXXVII Kα), Fe I Kβ, Fe XXV Kβ, Fe XXVI Lyβ, Fe XXV Kγ, and Fe XXVI Lyγ were detected for the first time. The line center energies and widths of Fe XXV Kα and Fe XXVI Lyα favor a collisional excitation plasma for the origin of the GCDX. The electron temperature determined from the line flux ratio of Fe XXV Kα/Fe XXV Kβ is similar to the ionization temperature determined from that of Fe XXV Kα/Fe XXVI Lyα. Thus it would appear that the GCDX plasma is close to ionization equilibrium. The 6.7 keV flux and temperature distribution to the galactic longitude is smooth and monotonic, in contrast to the integrated point source flux distribution. These facts support the hypothesis that the GCDX is truly diffuse emission rather than the integration of the outputs of a large number of unresolved point sources. In addition, our results demonstrate that the chemical composition of Fe in the interstellar gas near the GC is constrained to be about 3.5 times solar abundance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S245-S255
JournalPublications of the Astronomical Society of Japan
Issue number1 SPEC. ISS.
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Galaxy: center
  • ISM: abundances
  • ISM: dust, extinction
  • X-ray spectra

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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