Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 330, 259-278 (2002/February-3)
Chandra observations of the luminous infrared galaxy NGC 3256.
LIRA P., WARD M., ZEZAS A., ALONSO-HERRERO A. and UENO S.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present a detailed analysis of high-resolution Chandra observations of the merger system NGC 3256, the most infrared-luminous galaxy in the nearby universe. The X-ray data show that several discrete sources embedded in complex diffuse emission contribute ≳20 per cent of the total emission (LXtot ∼8x1041 erg/s in the 0.5-10KeV energy range). The compact sources are hard and extremely bright and their emission is probably dominated by accretion-driven processes. Both galaxy nuclei are detected with LX ∼3-10x1040 erg/s. No evidence is found for the presence of an active nucleus in the southern nucleus, contrary to previous speculation. Once the discrete sources are removed, the diffuse component has a soft spectrum that can be modelled by the superposition of three thermal plasma components with temperatures kT=0.6, 0.9 and 3.9keV. Alternatively, the latter component can be described as a power law with index Γ∼3 . Some evidence is found for a radial gradient of the amount of absorption and temperature of the diffuse component. We compare the X-ray emission with optical, Hα and NICMOS images of NGC 3256 and find a good correlation between the inferred optical/near-infrared and X-ray extinctions. Although inverse Compton scattering could be important in explaining the hard X-rays seen in the compact sources associated with the nuclei, the observed diffuse emission is probably of thermal origin. The observed X-ray characteristics support a scenario in which the powerful X-ray emission is driven solely by the current episode of star formation.
2002 Blackwell Science Ltd
galaxies: active - galaxies: general - galaxies: individual: NGC 3256 - galaxies: nuclei - X-rays: galaxies
Fig.1, Table 1: [LWZ2002] NN (Nos 1-6, 9-14), [LWZ2002] N(W) (Nos 7(N), 8(S)).
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