Zhang, Shuinai, Wang, Q. Daniel, Ji, Li, Smith, Randall K., Foster, Adam R., and Zhou, Xin. 2014. "Spectral Modeling of the Charge-exchange X-Ray Emission from M82." The Astrophysical Journal 794:61. https://doi.org/10.1088/0004-637X/794/1/61
It has been proposed that the charge-exchange (CX) process at the interface between hot and cool interstellar gases could contribute significantly to the observed soft X-ray emission in star-forming galaxies. We analyze the XMM-Newton/reflection grating spectrometer (RGS) spectrum of M82 using a newly developed CX model combined with a single-temperature thermal plasma to characterize the volume-filling hot gas. The CX process is largely responsible for not only the strongly enhanced forbidden lines of the Kα triplets of various He-like ions but also good fractions of the Lyα transitions of C VI (~87%), O VIII, and N VII (gsim50%) as well. In total about a quarter of the X-ray flux in the RGS 6-30 Å band originates in the CX. We infer an ion incident rate of 3 × 1051 s-1 undergoing CX at the hot and cool gas interface and an effective area of the interface of ~2 × 1045 cm2 that is one order of magnitude larger than the cross section of the global biconic outflow. With the CX contribution accounted for, the best-fit temperature of the hot gas is 0.6 keV, and the metal abundances are approximately solar. We further show that the same CX/thermal plasma model also gives an excellent description of the EPIC-pn spectrum of the outflow Cap, projected at 11.6 kpc away from the galactic disk of M82. This analysis demonstrates that the CX is potentially an important contributor to the X-ray emission from starburst galaxies and also an invaluable tool to probe the interface astrophysics.