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XMM-Newton Guest Observer Facility

Abstracts of XMM-NEWTON AO-9 Large Projects


Proposal #65038

PI: Steven Allen

A/B Proposal

New Cosmological Constraints from X-ray Clusters Massive clusters of galaxies currently offer two complementary approaches to cosmology, through studies of cluster gas-mass fractions and the growth of cosmic structure. We propose to pursue both of these approaches simultaneously by completing X-ray follow-up of the MACS sample. X-ray observations of this sample, the leading, statistically complete sample of very massive clusters, have already proved to be a powerful cosmological tool. The proposed observations would significantly improve our understanding of cluster scaling relations for the growth of structure, allow a detailed statistical study of the evolution and impact of cool clusters cores, and identify hot, relaxed clusters suitable for cosmological studies through the gas-mass fraction method.


Proposal #65045

PI: Eric Gotthelf

A/B Proposal

The Central Compact Object in Cassiopeia A: Magnetar or Anti-Magnetar? Discovering the pulsar in the Cas A supernova remnant is the key to confirming the interpretation of the Central Compact Objects (CCOs) as a major class of neutron stars (NS) that are born spinning slowly (P gt 100 ms) and with surprisingly weak magnetic fields (B lt 1.e11 G). Mounting evidence for such a population has overtaken the previous hypothesis for the Cas A CCO as a magnetar in quiescence. XMM can make the definitive search for pulsations from this, the youngest known NS. A pulsar in Cas A will reveal the spin period and dipole B-field of a NS at an age that is only a few percent of the known magnetars and CCOs. It will address the relationship between initial angular momentum and natal magnetic field, and investigate their role in the evolution of young NSs.


Proposal #65051

PI: Benjamin Williams

A/B Proposal

A Deep XMM-Newton Legacy Survey of M33 We propose a deep XMM-Newton legacy survey of M33 covering the entire D25 isophote with a total of 700 ks of exposure. These data will allow us to determine how the temperature and energetics of the hot interstellar medium are affected by star formation, constrain the nature and dynamical masses of new pulsating and eclipsing X-ray binaries, and perform detailed statistical and spectral studies on the largest extragalactic population of X-ray supernova remnants. As the deepest and most complete X-ray census of an entire spiral galaxy possible with current technology, our survey will test the physics of diffuse hot gas and the evolution of X-ray source populations at luminosities never before available for such a sample.


Proposal #65133

PI: William Brandt

A/B Proposal

How Powerful Are Quasar Outflows? X-ray absorption studies of quasar outflows with low-resolution CCD spectroscopy cannot reliably determine the outflow kinetic luminosity. We therefore propose an ambitious long-look observation to obtain the first high-quality grating spectroscopy of a mini-BAL quasar (PG 1114+445). Grating spectroscopy of a small sample of local Seyfert galaxies has led to highly regarded accurate determinations of their wind properties. The proposed extension of grating spectroscopy to the first mini-BAL quasar level AGN will determine if the outflow becomes as powerful as required in current AGN feedback scenarios. The 375,000 count EPIC spectra from this long-look will enable unprecedented complementary studies of high-energy absorption features and iron K emission.


Proposal #65133

PI: Jesper Rasmussen

A/B Proposal

A deep search for a hot halo of NGC 5746: Constraining disk galaxy formation Most galaxy formation models predict that massive low-redshift disk galaxies are embedded in extended hot halos of externally accreted gas. Yet observational studies have so far failed to detect soft X-ray emission from such halos. Our cosmological simulations, the first to produce fully realistic disk galaxies, suggest this is within reach but requires a factor of 10 increase in sensitivity compared to existing X-ray studies. We propose a deep observation of the massive spiral NGC5746, to decisively test for the presence of such a halo and constrain its properties. A detection will confirm a basic tenet of disk galaxy formation models, whereas a non-detection will seriously challenge these models and impose new constraints on the growth mode and feedback history of disk galaxies.


Proposal #65240

PI: Alexis Finoguenov

A/B Proposal

DEEP2XMM: Signposts of galaxy transformation Recent observations have established redshift $z sim 1$ as a pivotal epoch in the creation of galaxy groups. At these redshifts, the group environment changes from being invigorating to suffocating for galaxy activity, as the time-scales for collapse of structures reach the time scales for galaxy transformation. DEEP2 is the leading spectroscopic galaxy survey at the redshift range of $0.7<1.4$, where dramatic changes in the global galaxy population are observed. We propose XMM observations of the DEEP2 fields, which will signpost galaxy transformation at these redshifts by identifying X-ray groups and disentangling the effects of massive halo assembly from those associated with the stage of structure formation at z=1.


Proposal #65248

PI: Massimiliano Gaeleazzi

A/B Proposal

Characterization of Solar Wind Charge Exchange Solar Wind Charge Exchange contributes a significant background to X-ray observations of extended astrophysical objects. For objects covering or extending beyond the instrumental FOV, determining the background from the observation itself is difficult or impossible and a separate observation of the background may produce incorrect results, as the strength and spectrum of the SWCX emission is temporally variable. We will use the SWCX time variability to study and characterize its properties. We propose 4 observations of the same target spread over 2 years, to maximize the effect of the slowly varying SWCX emission. The target is the high latitude molecular cloud MBM12, to remove the effect of background emission and maximize the SWCX signal.


Proposal #65304

PI: Norbert Werner

A/B Proposal

Quest for X-ray emission from the large-scale structure between cluster pairs Our detection of a filament of ~0.9 keV gas connecting the clusters of galaxies Abell 222 and 223 offered one of the first successful glimpses at a small fraction of the missing baryons in the local Universe. To understand the nature and properties of the Warm Hot Intergalactic Medium (WHIM), it is of utmost importance to extend our search to other promising systems. We propose deep (150 ks each) observations of two pairs of clusters of galaxies in which the filament connecting them is expected to lie approximately along our line-of-sight. This favorable geometry will allow us to detect the WHIM down to an average density of 2-3x10^-5 cm^-3, which is only a factor of two to three larger than the densities that we hope to detect with proposed dedicated future missions.


Proposal #65338

PI: Tod Strohmayer

A/B Proposal

Mapping the Timing - Spectral Correlations in NGC 5408 X-1 We propose new, deep EPIC observations of the ULX NGC 5408 X-1. Our previous observations reveal a pattern of timing and spectral behavior very analogous to that seen in Galactic black holes, but with longer timescale and higher luminosity, strongly indicative of a ~1000 solar mass black hole in X-1. With new exposures we will 1) map out the timing - spectral correlations to enable more rigorous comparison with Galactic systems. 2) Search for analogs of the high frequency QPOs in Galactic black holes in the Steep Power-law State. 3) Search for relativistically broadened Fe lines.


Proposal #65305

PI: Craig Sarazin

A/B Proposal

The Physics of Cosmic Shocks: The NW Merger Shock and Radio Relic in Abell 3667 Abell 3667 is the archetype of a merging cluster with radio relics. The NW relic is the brightest cluster relic or halo known. This region was imaged with XMM in AO-7. We detected a X-ray brightness and hardness jump at the edge of the NW relic. This could be due to a merger shock, or to inverse Compton (IC) emission from the relic; both are consistent within the errors. We propose a long observation to determine the contributions of shock and IC emission. Comparison of the shock properties and the radio relic will be a critical test of the shock acceleration model for relics. The relic IC emission will give the magnetic field and cosmic ray energy of the relic. We will determine the efficiency of particle acceleration, and provide the first data on the physics of cosmic shock fronts.


Proposal #65158

PI: Gabriel Pratt

C Proposal

Observations of a representative X-ray luminosity selected galaxy group sample Our current understanding of the X-ray properties of galaxy groups is limited by poor quality data and an inhomogeneous and non-representative coverage of the mass function. We propose to make deep observations of a representative, X-ray luminosity selected sample of 9 galaxy groups drawn from a complete flux-limited catalogue. We will measure the temperature out to R_500 with similar accuracy to that available for high quality observations of nearby clusters (e.g., REXCESS). We will investigate the relative importance of gravitational and non-gravitational processes in setting the observed X-ray properties of group scale haloes, via extensive examination of their structural and scaling properties.


Proposal #65225

PI: Lidia Oskinova

C Proposal

X-rays at the Latest Stage of a Massive Star's Life: A thorough study of WR6 We propose to obtain the first high-resolution spectrum of a single Wolf-Rayet (WR) type star. WR stars are immediate progenitors of core-collapse SNe and GRBs. The low-resolution spectra accumulated by XMM-Newton and Chandra revealed that the X-ray emission of WR stars depends on yet unknown factors - wind anisotropy, magnetic field and rotation are possible suspects. The RGS spectrum of the X-ray brightest single WR star, WR 6, analyzed by means of comprehensive models, will unveil how X-rays are produced in WR stars. The wind shock origin of X-rays will be firmly proved or disproved. The unique capabilities of XMM-Newton will elevate our knowledge about massive stars in their latest evolutionary stages to a qualitatively new level.


Proposal #65351

PI: Norbert Schartel

A/B Proposal

The First Test of General Relativity in a Strong Gravitational Field We propose four 120 ks XMM-Newton observations of 1H0707-495 simultaneously with four 30 ks Chandra HETGS-observations to test for the first time the general theory of relativity in a strong gravitational field.


Proposal #65491

PI: Valentina Braito

A/B Proposal

The iron line variability of NGC2992: a direct probe of AGN central engines We propose a monitoring campaign (8 observation of ~55 ksec each) of the bright Seyfert 1.5 NGC2992, which reveals dramatic X-ray variability. The aim of the proposal is to directly probe how and on what timescale the broad Fe line responds to the continuum. The analysis of the previous X-ray observations unveiled that its X-ray flux varies by a factor of 10 over a year with the broad Fe line responding to the continuum. Such behavior is extremely rare and makes NGC2992 a unique laboratory to investigate the central engine of AGN. The proposed monitoring maximizes the probability of covering as much of the dynamic range of continuum and Fe line variability as possible. These observations will allow us to obtain the best constraints to date of the Fe line properties for each flux state.

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