Journal Article

The origin of the X-ray-emitting plasma in the eastern edge of the Cygnus Loop

Xin Zhou, Fabrizio Bocchino, Marco Miceli, Salvatore Orlando and Yang Chen

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 406, issue 1, pages 223-229
Published in print July 2010 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online July 2010 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
The origin of the X-ray-emitting plasma in the eastern edge of the Cygnus Loop

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The Cygnus Loop is interacting with a protrusion of the cavity wall in its eastern edge (the XA region), where the X-ray emission is very bright. The complexity of the environment and the non-linear physical processes of the shock–cloud interaction make the origin of the X-ray emission still not well understood. Our purpose is to understand the physical origin of the X-ray emission in the XA region, addressing, in particular, the role of thermal conduction in the interaction process. We analysed two XMM–Newton data sets, performing image analysis and spatially resolved spectral analysis on a set of homogeneous regions. We applied a recently developed diagnostic tool to compare spectral analysis results with predictions of theoretical models, and to estimate the efficiency of thermal conduction on the X-ray-emitting shocked plasma. We found that the inhomogeneous cavity wall contains both large clumps (the protrusion) and small isolated clumps with different densities. A large indentation bent over to the south is detected. The abundance of the surrounding interstellar medium is ∼0.2 times solar value. We confirmed the important role of thermal conduction in the evolution of X-ray-emitting plasma during shock–cloud interaction.

Keywords: ISM: clouds; ISM: individual objects: Cygnus Loop; ISM: individual objects: G74.0−8.5; ISM: supernova remnants; X-rays: ISM

Journal Article.  4396 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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